Our Approach

Without high quality and engaging summer learning opportunities, children — especially those in low-income communities — fall dramatically behind in reading, math, and nutrition.

Across California, communities are addressing this challenge with innovative summer programs and partnerships that give children the chance to learn, grow and play all summer long.

The vision of Summer Matters is that all young people in California have equitable access to high quality summer learning opportunities to support their year-round learning and well-being.

Summer Matters’ focus is on young people with the greatest need and fewest resources and we provide resources and support to summer learning programs.

The Summer Matters campaign is expanding and evolving into the California Summer Matters Network. Since 2009, the campaign has been a great success with some notable accomplishments including:

  • increasing the number of students in summer learning programs,
  • helping California define what a high-quality summer learning programs looks like, and
  • building a broad-based number of champions for summer learning.

And after surveying campaign partners, we found a strong desire to continue this momentum and continue to broaden and deepen the impact across the state. An LA County Summer Matters Network already launched  in 2016.

The California Summer Matters Network will provide unique opportunities for members to identify  ways and means to work together toward common outcomes that will ultimately increase and improve the summer learning opportunities, for all children and youth across the state. The network will be coordinated, facilitated, and convened by our newly formed Core Team, which is made up of seven organizations: The Core Team members are:

Summer Matters is a statewide network of school districts, educators, school boards, education leaders, mayors, legislators, nonprofits, funders, civic leaders and parents working collaboratively to create and expand access to high quality summer learning opportunities for all California students. Here is how we do it:


Researching what works

Many of the resources you will find here are rooted in our experiences, tested in diverse communities, and validated by research.

Establishing best practices

We have learned that high quality summer programs:

  • Broaden youth horizons
  • Include a wide variety of activities
  • Help youth build mastery
  • Foster cooperative learning
  • Promote healthy habits
  • Last at least a month

Working with local schools

Summer learning is more than traditional summer school, but some of the most innovative programs are run by school districts and supported with public funding.

Partnering with community organizations

Summer learning programs ensure quality by leveraging partnerships between school districts and community based organizations like after school programs, nonprofit organizations, and camps.

Ensuring sustainability

High quality summer learning programs are a better investment than remediation and many school districts serving students with the greatest needs are committing local control funding and categorical public funding to provide experiences that rival those found in more affluent communities.

Measuring program quality

High quality summer programs have the data to prove it. There are a number of assessment and evaluation tools that can help programs set goals for improvement.

Continuous learning

A committed group of technical assistance providers support continuous program improvement through coaching, training, consultation, facilitation, brokering resources, and mentoring program providers.

Showcase communities

More and more educators are joining the movement to support summer learning. Contact us to find a model summer program you can visit or to connect with a local technical assistance provider.

Does your district stand up for summer?

A growing movement of California educators have signed on as champions of summer learning. Will you?