Research shows that up to two-thirds of the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher income peers can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. Recognizing this issue, the City of Boston, along with the Boston Opportunity Agenda, The Wallace Foundation, and other key funders are investing in more than 1,500 new program slots to expand summer learning access. Boston After School & Beyond and the Boston Public Schools co-manage this effort.
Boston Summer Learning Project
Boston’s approach to summer learning addresses the knowledge, skills, and experiences young people need to acquire in order to succeed in school, college, work, and life. Schools draw on the strengths of teachers and leading program providers to provide a full-day, integrated learning experience.
Each program employs a different mix of time, location, enrichment, and staffing based on the specific needs and interests of their students. All are focused on the common goals of academic progress in math and language arts and improvement in specific power skills (critical thinking, perseverance, relationships, and self-regulation).
You can view a map of our Summer Learning Project sites here.
Boston Summer Learning Community
A special thank you to our funders:
Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Boston Public Schools, Boston Opportunity Agenda, Charles Hayden Foundation, Eos Foundation, Klarman Family Foundation, Kraft Family Foundation, National Summer Learning Association, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and The Wallace Foundation.
Research and Reports
Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success
This report offers guidance to district leaders across the country who are interested in launching summer learning programs or improving programs that are already established. Our recommendations are based on the evaluations of summer programs in six urban districts in the summer of 2011. These districts—Boston; Cincinnati; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Rochester, New York—were selected for a multiyear demonstration project funded by The Wallace Foundation to assess their effectiveness in improving student achievement. They are among the nation’s most advanced in their experience with comprehensive, voluntary summer learning programs.
Read the full report here!
Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning
Summer learning programs have the potential to help children and youth improve their academic and other outcomes. This is especially true for children from low-income families who might not have access to educational resources throughout the summer months and for low-achieving students who need additional time to master academic content. However, summer learning programs are often an afterthought of school districts or not offered at all, especially in restrictive funding environments.
To focus attention on the potential of such programs, this monograph reviews the literature on summer learning loss and the effectiveness of summer learning programs, determines key cost drivers of and available funds for summer programs, and gathers information about how such programs operate in district and city contexts, including facilitators and challenges.
Read the full report here!
National Summer Learning Association: Summer Starts in September
As soon as one summer ends, it’s time to start planning for the next one! The new Summer Starts in September: Comprehensive Planning Guide for Summer Learning Programs includes 200 pages of research-based strategies, program examples, and tools that summer program staff, leaders, and trainers can use to develop an intentional, high-impact program.
The guide is brought to life by 80 summer learning quality indicators, developed and tested through years of partnership with summer learning programs, researchers, and trainers. Together, these indicators make up the National Summer Learning Association’s Comprehensive Assessment of Summer Programs (CASP).
Read an excerpt of the report here!
This booklet provides an in-depth look at the past three years of the Boston Summer Learning Project. It outlines the Project’s approach, as well as its impact on all involved: students, teachers, Boston Public Schools, and community partners.
The achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers is explained largely by unequal access to learning opportunities beyond the school day. Summer is an especially precious resource. Students who don’t participate in summer learning programs lose substantial knowledge and skills gained during the school year. This well-documented “summer learning slide” most adversely affects low-income students, is cumulative across a young person’s lifetime, and represents an expensive leak in our educational pipeline. Mounting evidence suggests that quality summer programs can stem this loss and, in some cases, even accelerate students’ progress.
Full Report: Boston Learns Together: Summer Learning
The Afterschool Alliance polled parents nationwide this past spring. Some 33 percent reported having sent at least one child to a summer learning program last year. That figure is a jump from 25 percent in 2009, the last time the Afterschool Alliance conducted the survey.
About half of parents surveyed reported that they would want their child to participate in a summer learning program this summer if a high-quality program were available.
The data come in an official “sneak peek” of findings from the third edition of America After 3 PM, based on a survey of 13,709 households conducted with support from funders including The Wallace Foundation. Scheduled for release this fall, the report will include full findings about nationwide demand for afterschool.
Find out more about the summer results here.