A local nonprofit is working to get students in Dallas ISD up to speed on their academic outcomes by offering out-of-school services during the summer break.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas ISD has been struggling to provide the students in its charge with a quality education. During the 2021-2022 school year, only 41% of students scored at grade level on their STAAR exams, and almost 20% of the graduating Class of 2022 failed to earn a diploma in four years despite the hard work of the school system’s dedicated educators, according to the district’s latest Texas Education Agency accountability report.

More recently, Dallas ISD 8th-graders logged a 4% drop in math scores on the STAAR this spring, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Here’s some of what NBC 5 DFW reported on Dallas Afterschool’s efforts to help fill in the gaps left open by local school systems:

Dallas Afterschool is a community-driven nonprofit organization whose organizers say they are dedicated to improving the quality and availability of [out] of school time for students in Dallas County.

During the school year, they boast more than 230 community partners, 1700 professionals trained and more than 17,000 kids getting the help they need academically.

A great deal of that work centers on literacy.

“It makes me feel like I am making a difference,” Marjorie Murat, Chief Executive Officer of Dallas Afterschool said. “Many of these kiddos in the programs that we support, this may be the only opportunity that they get to engage in some fun STEM experiments as well.”

Murat says it’s work that is invaluable, especially when school is out for the summer.

“Kids in grades, more specifically second through fifth grade, lose about 20% of their school year gains in reading. So, we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Murat said.

Her suggestion to parents at home is to make reading fun. Picking books that keep a child interested is also important. She also wanted to remind parents that it’s not going to always go as planned, even with the best intentions.