How Summer Learning Strengthens Students’ Success is an independent evaluation of three Summer Matters pilot programs. The report measures impact on students’ academic achievement – both during the summer months and extending throughout the school year. Analysis of the data concluded high quality summer learning programs in Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento have bolstered students’ academic success by strengthening their academic skills in general and literacy skills in particular, and increasing the effectiveness of their work habits and confidence in their abilities as learners.
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.
This study describes how summer learning programs that provide high quality, engaging enrichment activities are a promising solution to this challenge and can help to narrow our unacceptable achievement gap.
With the Packard Foundation’s support, a coalition of educators, policymakers, and families launched the Summer Matters campaign. Eager to build on-the-ground models of great summer programming, the stakeholders worked to create high-quality programs across the state that address local needs of children and youth.