Research indicates that summer learning can be an effective approach to closing opportunity gaps for students from low-income families. Many county offices of education and school districts offer summer learning as part of a complete educational strategy: two-thirds (66%) percent of respondents to a 2013 CSBA survey reported offering some type of summer learning program.
This is the first in a series of articles focusing on strategies to promote student learning and wellness during the summer break from school. This installment presents an overview of the topic and the importance of effective summer programs in helping to close the achievement gap.
A three-stage planning guide for boards developing summer learning programs.
I propose that we retool the old summer school model into summer enrichment camps that focus on 21st century skills. These summer programs would employ teachers who have expertise in applying instructional strategies that foster critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills in our students. They would work in partnership with nonprofit and other youth-serving organizations, public libraries and others to provide full-day learning and enrichment camps.
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.
By the time a low-income child enters fifth grade, he or she can be up to three grade levels behind other classmates in reading and math. One key contributor to this gap is the absence of learning opportunities during summer months, which results in learning loss.
On August 25, 2016, The Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Science hosted a panel on summertime opportunities in Washington DC. The workshop validated the value of a summer learning approach not only for student academic achievement, but also for students’ health outcomes. A report outlining the workshop was just published.
Summer Matters presented its Summer Matters Superhero Award to Superintendents Deborah A. Flores of Gilroy Unified School District; Richard Martinez of Pomona Unified School District; and William McCoy of Sausalito Marin City School District during the California School Board Association’s annual education conference.
Summer Matters is excited to celebrate our three Summer Superheroes. These superintendents from districts across the state are champions of summer learning. Today, we unveil their secret identities and talk a little about the amazing work they have done in their districts to bridge the opportunity gap, and give all students access to high quality summer learning.
Frequently asked questions about a Summer Learning Network.