Most Students Ever Participate in Boston’s 5th Quarter of Learning

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – More than 12,500 Boston students pushed back the summer slide this year, participating in 145 programs – an all-time high showcasing the city’s nation-leading 5th Quarter of Learning, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston leaders announced this morning.

Leaders from the City of Boston, Boston After School & Beyond, Boston Public Schools, and over 140 programs gathered at City Year to announce the historic rate of student attendance and to double down on strategies to expand offerings and improve efforts next summer.

“Learning shouldn’t stop just because the school year does and that’s why, through our 5th quarter of learning initiative, we’re providing opportunities for students to continue their education over the summer,” said Mayor Walsh. “The success we’ve seen so far with a record number of students participating this year is incredible, and demonstrates the importance of engaging students year-round in learning. I am proud of our groundbreaking effort that is backed by solid research and made possible with the support of our partners, to help ensure the success of Boston’s students.”

The Boston Public Schools substantially expanded its support of the 5th Quarter of Learning, allocating $3 million to support 5,162 students in 54 programs that integrate academics and enrichment. The increased investment includes funding for English learners, homeless students, and off-track high school students.

“Without stimulating learning opportunities, students run the risk of falling behind during the summer,” said BPS Interim Superintendent Laura Perille. “The 5th Quarter of Learning provides these programs for BPS students, engaging youth who may require extra support. We are committed to continuing this initiative, in partnership with Boston After School and Beyond, so that even more of our students are learning year-round.”

Programs enroll students free of charge and feature a wide variety of activities, from boat building and sailing to tennis and outdoor exploration. Organizers hope to close the gap in enrichment available to young people from different economic backgrounds.

“When programs and schools come together, they can offer young people opportunities they would not otherwise have,” said Chris Smith, executive director of Boston After School & Beyond, which created the 5th Quarter approach with the Boston Public Schools.

Governor Charlie Baker and legislative leaders included $500,000 in new funding for a summer learning line item in the state budget. The new program, which will be administered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is modeled on Boston’s approach of providing students with 150 hours of learning and enrichment focused on key college and career readiness skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and perseverance.

At the event, Boston After School & Beyond released a report portraying the performance of 5th Quarter programs and students. Key outcomes include: an average attendance rate of 85 percent, improvement on 12 out of 15 domains, and improved student performance on skills such as critical thinking, communication, relationship, and perseverance skills.

Data gathered from programs suggest room for improvement in offering adult staff and youth participants time for reflection. Youth surveys suggest that, on average, they want more opportunities for choice and autonomy.

In order to facilitate improvement, Boston After School & Beyond released a new online dashboard, called the PRISM, to help programs identify specific areas for improvement, as well as five new videos featuring exemplary programs.

The Boston Public Schools released a request for proposals to kick start planning for the summer of 2019. Awards are expected to be made in February 2019. Click here for more information.

Click here for the summer report, Boston’s 5th Quarter By the Numbers.

All event photos can be found on the Boston Beyond Flickr page.