- Summer learning programs can erase early reading deficits. More than 80 percent of low-income youth in this country are not proficient in reading by the end of third grade, making them more than four times as likely to drop out of high school as their peers to who reach this critical benchmark. K-3 summer learning programs have been shown not only to mitigate summer learning losses in reading in the early grades, but to accelerate skill development to get young people up to grade level by third grade.
- High-quality summer learning programs level the college and career playing field. Alarming data on the skilled workforce pipeline and need for remedial coursework in two- and four-year colleges have created a national sense of urgency around work-embedded learning, apprenticeships and college preparation programs, particularly for first-generation attenders. Summer youth employment programs are proving critical to keeping students productively engaged and learning, making meaningful contributions to their community, learning valuable job skills, and exploring potential careers.
- Pre-service and in-service teachers want to make the most of their summers. Quality teaching is consistently linked to successfully closing achievement gaps, but most teachers today have between one and two years of experience. Summer learning programs are an increasingly likely place to find the kinds of pipelines into and through the teaching profession that are working. Offering training, mentorship, leadership, and ownership of their work, community-based programs give new teachers additional time to hone their skills, refine lesson plans, and build deeper relationships with students.
Rachel Gwaltney is the Director of Policy and Partnerships for the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA). She leads development and implementation of services, projects, and partnerships that strengthen summer learning policy and build capacity of state and national leaders and organizations.Learn more about DCAYA's fantastic partner, the National Summer Learning Association, at www.summerlearning.org. And consider attending their Summer Changes Everything annual conference, October 12-14 in Baltimore, MD.