SLP 2014 Update 4: Common Goals, Common Measures


 Building a Summer Learning System
Boston’s unified approach to summer learning stretches across 57 sites this summer. As sites pursue common student-centered outcomes, each will implement the same youth survey, and host an independent observer, to measure and enhance program quality consistently.
Boston Summer Learning SystemThe 18 Summer Learning Project (SLP) sites continue to feature Boston Public School (BPS) teachers and community enrichment staff co-developing and co-delivering programming. An additional 39 summer sites – featuring a wide array of program models across the city of Boston – have adopted SLP’s approach to program quality evaluation to highlight strengths, identify weaknesses, and pursue continuous improvement together.
Representatives from these 57 sites gather year round to discuss program best practices driven by data. Taken together, Boston’s summer learning system strives to leverage summer as a time to deliver high quality programming for student growth and achievement.

SLP Spotlight: Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)-BPS

Essential Question: What is success? How can my summer experience help me set and work toward future goals?

The summer months are filled with educational and professional experiences for high school students participating at PICBPS Summer Learning Project sites.  One site, located at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), offers academic instruction led by certified BPS teachers and dual-enrollment courses taught by BFIT faculty.  In the afternoon, students work throughout Boston in community based or private sector jobs.  Students participate in weekly career exploration workshops that develop their professional skills, financial literacy and goal setting abilities.

Eleven additional PIC sites participate in the Boston summer learning system, implementing the same program quality evaluation tools.  The PIC’s Hilary Brayton explained that being involved in the summer learning system has allowed PIC to “measure our own progress and think about how we can do things differently.”  Through year-round workshops, the summer learning system brings together a community of practitioners to interact and engage with each other.  It just makes sense that we are all working as part of the same team,” explained Brayton.  “It felt fragmented in the past but now there is a system that we can rely on that makes program planning, implementation and evaluation more continuous.”

Spotlight: UMass Boston, Pre-Collegiate Programs

1 of 39 sites adopting SLP’s approach to measurement

UMass Boston’s summer programs for middle and high school students empower youth who want to pursue higher education. Three programs adopt the SLP approach to measurement: Project REACH, Urban Scholars, and Upward Bound.  Project REACH provides opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged students who are motivated to pursue higher education despite these challenges. With a focus on high-achieving students, the Urban Scholars program offers classes like engineering and robotics to challenge its students and keep them excited about learning.  Finally, its longest running program, Upward Bound uses hands-on classes and workshops to prep first-generation college bound students for post-secondary education.  Terri Slater Morgan and Andrea Dawes of UMass Boston hope that using these common goals and measurement tools will give their programs greater insight into the social and emotional wellness of their students.  They commented that, “The Boston summer learning system connects program providers and creates a network of cooperation that should ensure that no students fall through the cracks in summer education.”

 Boston Public Schools    Boston After School & Beyond