Entries by Ezra Denney

A summer rich in history for students who looked, listened and questioned

Making History’s goal, said Rachel Reinhard, the executive director of the Berkeley history project, is to help teachers explore local history “as an entry point to understand national and international trends” while giving students “new eyes for looking at the communities they live in.” She said for students from low-income East Oakland, a jumping off point for discussion might be the Oakland Community School, a free school, cherished by the neighborhood, that the Black Panther Party started on a church property at the height of its influence in the mid-1970s.

Summer and after-school programs—big in California—fight to survive under Trump

Currently, over 400 programs operating across the state receive about $130 million annually from Washington. But as Trump seeks to shrink the federal government’s role in education, he’s trying to claw back that funding, arguing that the programs don’t actually boost student achievement like they’re supposed to.

Last Chance to Nominate a Summer Superhero

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.

Circle up: Teaching social-emotional skills year round

Creating places that feel safe for students has been the raison d’être of summer programs like Aim High, as it has been for hundreds of after-school programs in school districts across the state. Yet for many school principals who are casting about for ways to improve students’ sense of physical and emotional safety — and in doing so, students’ interest in being at school and learning — the idea of calling on summer school and after-school experts hasn’t occurred to them. But that is starting to change.

Summer program teaches key skills to prepare children for kindergarten

The Summer Pre-K camp, located in several schools in East and West Oakland, runs for four weeks and provides free breakfast and lunch as well as parent-and teacher workshops, home visits and dental screenings. It is financially supported by the non-profit organizations First 5 Alameda County and Oakland Fund for Children and Youth.

The program is part of a renewed effort across California to ensure that children without preschool experience are not at risk of falling behind, as the academic requirements for kindergarten increase. Early education advocates say early learning is critical to success in later grades and that research indicates noticeable gaps in skills often occur before a child enters kindergarten.