Summer Matters Superhero Award recipients are leaders who put energy and resources into summer learning, not because they have to, but because they are convinced that EVERY child matters and EVERY child can succeed with the right support and foundation.
With many students losing two to three months of progress in reading and math skills over summer, it’s necessary to offer stimulating outings that are fun and academic. Discovery Cube provided the opportunity for Elizabeth to expand her knowledge of science in a cool environment with other likeminded students. She was better equipped to begin the 2017 school year and has the inspiration to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon.
Summer learning programs are distinctively different from traditional summer school programs. For Nazaneen Khalilnaji-Otto, the Summer Matters campaign director at the Partnership for Children and Youth, one word sums up the difference between the summer learning model and summer school: “fun.” Summer learning takes on a “camp-like culture,” and these programs are generally open to all students, rather than only students seeking remedial or advanced coursework.
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.