Summer Learning 2016 Update 3: Boston Focuses on Youth Leadership

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Commissioner Mitchell Chester Visits IBA

unnamedThis week, Commissioner Mitchell Chester, accompanied by Cliff Chuang and Rachelle Engler Bennett from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, paid a visit to IBA‘s summer program at the Blackstone Innovation School to see community-based learning in action.

Click here to read more.

BSLC Promotes Youth Leadership Strategies in New Practice Brief

unnamedOpportunities for authentic youth leadership have proven time and time again to be beneficial to students. Powered by years of data findings showing that summer and school year partners have room for improvement in youth choice and leadership, Boston After School & Beyond commissioned the Youth Leadership Policy and Practice Brief this past spring.

Forty students from eight programs participated to voice their opinions and shape the report’s recommendations—including engaging youth in informing program design and structure, and soliciting and incorporating youth feedback.

Middle School Programs Provide Youth with Increased Leadership Opportunities this Summer

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At the Summer Learning Summit on March 22, 2016, site directors from the Boston Summer Learning Community learned about the above report and committed to expanding opportunities for youth leadership within their programs. Two programs that work with middle school students, Sociedad Latina STEAM Team and the Steppingstone Foundation, are among those that have pledged to allow for youth to take more initiative in their summer learning experience.

“Sociedad Latina’s mission, and that of many other organizations that do this work, is to build the next generation of leaders,” Jenna Nackel, Sociedad Latina STEAM Coordinator, said. “Our hope is to empower youth to see themselves as change makers in their communities. They begin to build those skills when they have opportunities to be leaders in their program.”

Click here to learn how Sociedad Latina and the Steppingstone Foundation incorporate youth leadership into programming.

Horizons Combines Innovation and Consistency to Build Confidence

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This summer, students at Horizons get to experience summer learning in a hands-on way. Located at Dedham Country Day School, this Boston Summer Learning Community partner provides 132 students in Pre-K through seventh grade with safe, healthy, and learning-filled summers. While it has always been dedicated to preventing the “summer slide,” Horizons is taking on a new challenge of incorporating project-based learning (PBL) to keep kids’ brains moving.

“For the first time, we have implemented a project-based learning environment at every grade level,” Caryl Lattoff, Executive Director of Horizons, said. “We believe PBL significantly enhances learning by building stronger relationships, including peer-to-peer, teacher-to-student, and teaching teams.”

Click here to read more about Horizons’ community atmosphere and project-based learning. 

unnamed (14)Want your site to be featured in our next Summer Learning Update? Send your photos to or Tweet them with the hashtag #BOSsummerlearning!

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for future updates, please contact Olivia Rybolt at

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