Neighborhood NESTS: Building community-education partnerships — An Obermann Conversation

robin eggs in nest

As it became clear last summer that the 2019-20 school year would include various kinds of online learning and other interruptions to schooling as usual, a group of community leaders joined forces to create a program to support K12 students. NESTS—Nurture Every Student Together Safely—was intended to address gaps in the Iowa City School District's Return to Learn. Less than a year later, there are seven NESTS in Johnson County—including at Dream City and Open Heartland—supporting more than a hundred students, especially vulnerable and at-risk youth whose academic skills and social-emotional well-being have been strongly impacted by the changes to schooling that began in March 2020.

This partnership of nonprofits, the business community, government organizations, the school district, and our faith community is developing a new model for how we can create smaller, safe spaces for students to gain mentoring and tutoring from adults with a range of skills. Two of the creators of NESTS, Missie Forbes and Megan Alter, along with Obermann-Spelman Rockefeller Community Fellow Peggy Schwab, a graduate student in the College of Education, will share what they've done this year, what they've learned, and where the NESTS is going.

Free and open to all, but registration is required. Register for Zoom link.


About our speakers:

Megan Alter is a Senior Manager ELA in Content Solutions and Services at ACT. She is one of the co-founders of NESTS, an active South District resident, and a parent with a second-grader and a 7th-grader. She received her PhD from the University of Iowa in 2004.

Missie Forbes was born and raised in Iowa City and has years of experience in non-profit work. She is the Executive Director of 4Cs of Johnson County and is a University of Iowa alumnus.

Peggy Schwab is a second-year master's candidate in the UI's College of Education's School Counseling program and Iowa LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Related Disabilities). She is the 2020-21 Obermann Spelman Rockefeller Community Scholar, serving as a program manager for NESTS.

Co-sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library.

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