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.
Funding and Sustainability
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.
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.
For over 10 years, New Mexico’s K-3 Plus program has been extending the school year for at-risk early elementary school children, with growth of the program fueled by positive findings from pilot studies. Minimum program funding is defined by law, but cost per student varies widely across jurisdictions. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) spoke with researcher Linda Goetze at the University of New Mexico to understand the intersection of policy, funding, and return on summer reading investments.
TA Providers were asked to walk around the room visiting each of the eight sustainability domain posters on the walls and discuss these guiding questions as a group.
What are some best practices for this element?
With no limits, what are other ideas you envision for this element?
Providers wrote ideas on notes for each poster. To read the responses, download the pdf.
Nonprofit organizations serving young people exist to provide meaningful opportunities for those young people to build their skills; experience positive, supportive relationships; and prepare for the future. No one would judge an organization’s worth by its financial soundness alone, but financially unhealthy programs threaten an organization’s ability to achieve its mission. Unfortunately, although they are critical to effective management, core organizational capabilities and effective administrative functions often are mistakenly perceived as peripheral to an organization’s mission.
While middle and upper-income children are able to keep learning each summer by visiting museums and camps or going on family vacations, children from low-income families are falling behind. High-quality summer learning programs are a cost-effective way to prevent summer learning loss and close both the opportunity and achievement gaps.
Summer can be a costly time for low-income families. According to Jennifer Peck, Executive Director of the Partnership for Children and Youth, “While middle-income children retain knowledge or, in many cases, make gains over the summer, low-income children fall behind.” Summer learning programs are a cost effective way to prevent summer learning loss and close the opportunity gap. In order to better understand the cost of such investments, Summer Matters conducted a small survey of partner organizations offering high quality summer learning opportunities in California.
In the Sustainability Workbook you will find a self-assessment tool, action plan, and follow-up plan, along with tips and best practices to help you assess and improve your program’s sustainability.
This guide is intended to better acquaint school board members and superintendents with summer learning, and to help them establish or expand programs that result in greater learning and enrichment for the students they serve.