In Boston, summer offers a vital opportunity for young people to build the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to succeed. Boston After School & Beyond, Boston Public Schools, and the Boston Opportunity Agenda are delighted to highlight the great work of our partner organizations in delivering high-quality, engaging summer learning opportunities for students.
The 2014 Summer Learning video features Sociedad Latina, a Roxbury-based organization that aims to cultivate leaders among Latino youth. We believe it effectively highlights the value of summer learning for students’ academic and social-emotional development. Many thanks to BPS and Sociedad Latina staff for helping to drive the content of the video.
Located on the Simmons College campus, the Sociedad Latina-BPS site asked students to research the following guiding question: “What makes a business successful?” The site also focused on recruiting English Language Learners (ELL), and hired certified academic teachers with experience in ELL instruction to deliver ELA and math content. Enrichment instructors led afternoon courses in STEM robotics, capoeira, chorus, and dance. At the end of the 6 week program, students presented business portfolios detailing how they would start a business related to their enrichment activity of choice (example: dance studio).
Looking Ahead to Summer 2015
In 2014, 50 BPS schools and 16 community partners collaborated across 18 program sites in Greater Boston to serve 681 students in grades 1-12 through the Summer Learning Project (SLP). In addition to 18 SLP sites, 40 additional sites voluntarily adopted the SLP’s approach to program quality measurement in 2014. This network of 58 sites plans year round for summer – utilizing common data and emerging best practices to inform continuous improvement.
A subset of SLP sites participated in a national randomized controlled trial to study the long-term effects of participation in high quality summer learning experiences. The first-year results from the study, commissioned by the Wallace Foundation and evaluated by the RAND Corporation, will be released in mid-December 2014. The study took place across five urban school districts, including Boston, and will examine academic and socio-emotional development of students who participated in summer learning programs (including 10 Boston SLP sites) compared to a non-participating control group. Please stay tuned for the release of these groundbreaking findings.
Best practices derived from the national study and the first 5 years of the SLP continue to inform the emergence of a wider Boston Summer Learning Community. Through this citywide effort, the SLP serves as a model for providing students access to high quality summer learning experiences.
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.