JumpStart Academy: Interview with Brand Manager Shannon Gale

JumpStart Academy
JumpStart Academy is an online learning resource that is concerned by how students and educational leaders are being affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

JumpStart Academy is an online learning resource that is concerned by how students and educational leaders are being affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). In response, the virtual organization is offering two of its programs (JumpStart Academy PreschoolJumpStart Academy Kindergarten  at a 50% discount until April 30th, 2020! In addition to the two discounted programs, JumpStart Academy is thrilled to announce that their JumpStart Academy Math program will be completely FREE for users until August 31, 2020.

The JumpStart Academy resource library includes worksheets, group-led activities to do together (at home or on-the-go) as well as informative articles to help keep kids occupied and learning during the crisis.

Recently, brand manager Shannon Gale granted an exclusive interview where she discussed the company, its mission for the future, and how it is coping with COVID-19.

JumpStart Academy
JumpStart Academy features a range of characters.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you discover your love for teaching and how did you get involved with JumpStart Academy?

Shannon Gale (SG): I have always loved working with children, even in elementary, middle and high school. In college, while volunteering with my volleyball team at a local elementary school, I read stories to kindergarten classes, and I knew then that was meant to be a teacher. I enjoyed creating lessons and interactive activities for my students and had the opportunity to become a curriculum designer for JumpStart Academy. I saw the opportunity to reach thousands, if not millions, of children by developing educational digital lessons and have been enjoying every minute of it.

MM: What are the requirements for JumpStart Academy and what subjects are available?

SG: There are various ways to access JumpStart Academy programs. To access JumpStart Academy Math for free, parents can visit www.jsaschool.com to create their account. We are proud to be able to offer this version for free to all parents and their children. JSA Math is accessible from any browser. Once an account is created, the parent and child can log in at www.jsamath.com.

JumpStart Academy
Kids can learn a lot in the system and have fun doing so.

JumpStart Academy Math consists of over 27 different learning activities that cover four domains: Operations, Measurement and Data, Fractions and Geometry for K-6th grades. Each domain covers essential lessons to build a solid math learning foundation.

For JumpStart Academy Preschool and Kindergarten, parents can go to their app store of choice and download the app or head to www.jumpstart.com/academy/home for a PC downloadable version. Once the app is downloaded, they are able to create their free account, including a 7-day free trial as a member. Once the free trial is over, users will be able to take advantage of our 50% off an annual subscription.

Preschool and Kindergarten apps offer a full year’s curriculum for children 3-6 years old. This includes activities to teach letter sounds, numbers, shapes, colors, social skills, sight words and many more skills needed for preschool and kindergarten. Along the way, each child will interact with JumpStart Academy characters that sing, read stories and talk to the child about life skills. The children will also earn rewards as they learn that they can use to raise their own pet, build their own house and dress up their own character.

JumpStart Academy
The interface is very colorful and inviting.

MM: How are the courses implemented? Are they asynchronous or synchronous? Are they delivered via online platforms or through videos or both?

SG: JumpStart Academy programs are all child-paced. The child can play through the lessons and activities at their own pace from the device of their choice via our online platform.

MM: What subjects do you teach and what projects have your students responded best to?

SG: JumpStart Academy Math covers four domains for K-6th: Operations, Measurement and Data, Fractions and Geometry. We also offer fluency games that cover each domain and have a more ‘gamey’ feel to them. The child is exposed to the same great content, but instead of answering multiple choice questions by choosing a card, they will be blasting the answers off an asteroid, as an example.

JumpStart Academy
A worksheet example.

JumpStart Academy Preschool covers all subjects in a preschool level curriculum including letter recognition, letter sounds, counting, shapes and colors. The preschoolers love the character interactions teaching life skills as well as the letter tracing.

JumpStart Academy Kindergarten covers all subjects in a kindergarten level curriculum including letter recognition, letter sounds, word blending, sentence building, sight word, counting, addition, shapes and colors. Kindergarteners love the game play mechanics that come along with each lesson including memory matching and sorting.

MM: What do you most enjoy about JumpStart Academy and designing syllabuses for remote education programs?

JumpStart Academy
The worksheets are challenging but also fun and engaging.

SG: As a leader in children’s educational gaming, we are fortunate to be able to help parents and their children continue to learn at home with JumpStart Academy programs. It is rewarding for our team to be able to release new content to our digital platforms in times of need such as now.

MM: How did JumpStart Academy respond to the coronavirus outbreak?

SG: The team at JumpStart Academy definitely feels for families affected by this outbreak in their home lives as well as their professional lives. As a company that believes in helping our community as much as we can, we were able to ramp up our social media presence to begin to offer free resources for parents and their children at home. We also are able to offer our JumpStart Academy Math program free for all users until August 31, 2020. All that is needed is for a parent to sign up for their account at www.jsaschool.com.

And to support children above the 6th grade, JumpStart Academy has partnered with its sister company Edmodo to offer Edmodo’s tutoring program ‘AskMo’ for free! Askmo takes the frustration out of homework with a new mobile app for live personalized tutoring in Math or Science from 7th -12th grades! So, we’re happy that our programs are user-friendly for students of all ages!

MM: How user-friendly is JumpStart Academy for parents and kids who previously had no experience with homeschooling and/or online learning?

JumpStart Academy

SG: JumpStart Academy programs are all child-paced, so once sign-in is complete, the child will be able to set their own learning pace. The programs will guide the child to their next step in the learning process, so there is no guess work on what to do next.

MM: How do you hope the programs and offerings on JumpStart Academy evolve and expand in the future?

SG: We are always looking for ways to improve our offerings and adapt to the ever-changing education field. JumpStart Academy is consistently seeking out opportunities to make our programs more accessible for our users, including integrating with other online learning platforms that children are familiar with. We hope to expand to additional subjects as well, such as reading and science.

MM: What topics and themes do you think would be excellent additions to the platform?

SG: While we offer all subjects for preschoolers and kindergarten, we currently offer K-6 lessons for math. We know that reading would be the perfect topic to complement award-winning JumpStart Academy Math.

JumpStart Academy
JumpStart Academy features a range of characters.

MM: What projects and/or events are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

SG: Given the current social situation we have had to cancel or postpone any in person events for JumpStart Academy. However, our passionate team of educators and creatives have begun to build out our online learning presence. This will include a series of videos to help parents at home find trusted resources and innovative ideas to do at home with their children.