Entries by Ezra Denney

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.

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.