Entries by Ezra Denney

Summer Matters Superheroes Sought

Do you know a Superintendent who has demonstrated extraordinary support for summer learning programs during the time between September 2016-September 2017? Can you help us find and celebrate this superhero? Summer Matters is looking for nominations for our Superhero award, given each year to California Superintendents who make summer learning matter in their districts.

CDE After School Video

Proposed Federal budget cuts threaten after school and summer programs in California. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson has forcefully opposed the budget cuts, and spoken out about the benefits of summer and after school programs. Recently, he visited a summer learning program at Robla Elementary School near Sacramento, to see the impact the program has on the local community, and highlight the importance of summer learning for California students.

End of Summer Program Reflection

Meeting Objectives to:
Celebrate the accomplishments of program
Generate solutions to common program challenges
Share programs best practices
Apply a strategic management model to turn data into action plans
Determine root causes of performance gaps and develop strategic responses

Meeting Outcomes:
 Participants have identified actions and ideas to improve their program in 2017

How to Keep Your Kid From Losing Reading and Math Skills Over the Summer

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean your kids should stop learning. Researchers have found that kids can lose one to two months of reading and math skills over the summer.

“All young people experience loss of math and reading skills when they do not have opportunities to apply or build these skills,” said Nazaneen Khalilnaji-Otto, the Campaign Director for Summer Matters. “Over 100 years of research has shown that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.”

Ensuring access to summer learning for all students

The research is clear that summer and after-school programs provide numerous benefits to students. According to a study by John Hopkins University, during the summer months children living in low-resource communities who are not engaged in activities tend to fall into a “summer slide,” while their peers from more economically advantaged communities build skills that will help them succeed. Students without positive summer activities lose nearly two months of competency in reading, and these losses are cumulative. By ninth grade, summer learning loss accounts for nearly two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading. Also well-documented are the negative impacts on health: youth without summer learning programs gain weight at a higher rate than during the school year. This is particularly true for children and youth of color and those who are already overweight.

Summer Programs for Kids are at Risk

Napa Valley is recognized the world over for its award-winning wines, but little is known about its low-income, mostly agricultural, communities where the need is great; especially for year-round student academic support and enrichment opportunities. To address this need, Aim High – a nonprofit offering free summer learning programs to middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than thirty years – opened a campus at Silverado Middle School in rural Napa, a community where only 15 percent of third grade English Language Learners read at or above grade level. The Napa program currently serves 120 students, but has a waiting list of at least 60 children.