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.
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.
The Summer Matters Road Trip was huge this year! We traveled to programs in 15 different cities, spreading the word about the importance of summer learning. But don’t take our word for it, check out the media coverage of several of the stops on the road trip.
Studies show the detrimental effects of summer learning loss. According to the National Summer Learning Association, some children experience one to three months of reading loss during the summer, a phenomenon that affects mainly low-income students without access to academic materials when not in school.
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.
Summertime doesn’t always mean kids lounging around the house playing video games once school gets out. Several hundred students, in fact, began their summer vacation by exercising their bodies and brains at two free elementary and middle school camps, thanks to the Napa County Office of Education.
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.
Kids are returning to school this month, and according to the National Summer Learning Association, about nine out of 10 teachers will spend as much as three weeks on review because of summer learning loss. That’s something school districts and libraries continually try to fight with academic programs.
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.”
Summer Matters is excited to announce the programs participating in our 2017 Summer Matters Site Visits. This is a chance to showcase quality summer programs across the state. The site visits will include an introduction to the program and opportunities to see the staff and youth in action.