Entries by Ezra Denney

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.

Cracking the Code to a Successful Summer Reading Program

What could happen when students are engaged with just-right, high-interest books over the summer months? At Orange County Public Schools (FL), a six-week summer reading academy increase average Lexile scores by 44%. In the summer of 2015, South Berwyn, Illinois, a district where 100% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch and 90% are English language learners, defied the odds and not only avoided summer slide but experienced a significant increase in reading proficiency.

The Developing Brain: Implications for Youth Programs

There is increasing global attention to the growing field of brain research, but what are we learning today that may inform programs that serve children? How do environment and life experiences impact brain development? What can be done to mitigate the negative effects of trauma on the brain? As our knowledge of the brain grows, so too does the opportunity to use this information to actively shape programs, practices, and policies that promote the well-being of children and youth.

Tools and Strategies to Improve your Summer Program

Tools and Strategies to Improve your Summer Program
Making your program better doesn’t happen by accident. It takes focus, persistence and data. Using a model developed with the National Summer Learning Association, this workshop will help participants understand the cycle of quality improvement and how a newly-released assessment tool (the Quick CASP) can gather the date to improve quality over time.

Supporting the Summer Learning Strategy to Boost Student Achievement

Research indicates that summer learning can be an effective approach to closing opportunity gaps for students from low-income families. Many county offices of education and school districts offer summer learning as part of a complete educational strategy: two-thirds (66%) percent of respondents to a 2013 CSBA survey reported offering some type of summer learning program.

2017-18 21st CCLC Grantees Announced

On April 11th, the California Department of Education’s Expanded Learning Division released the Intent to award funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC Elementary and Middle School) and 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) programs contingent upon the availability of federal funds, and subject to change based upon the grant appeal process.

OSLN 2016 Summer Learning Landscape Assessment

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) partners with a number of community-based organizations (CBOs) to serve more than 6,500 students. Through the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth (OFCY), the city provides funding to CBOs to serve more than 2,400 students, many in partnership with OUSD programming. Still more students are served by Oakland Parks and Recreation, city libraries, and community based organizations operating alongside this system. With such great diversity of programs, funding, and partnerships, there is a need for coordination and collaboration to ensure as many young people as possible are provided with high-quality summer learning opportunities.