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Resources to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program2852GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​The school bell may have stopped ringing, but summer is a great time for all kinds of learning opportunities for kids. In honor of this year’s National Summer Learning Week, here are some helpful reports, tools and articles to guide your summer program. And don’t forget to check out the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/" target="_blank">National Summer Learning Association</a> to discover summer programs, additional resources and more during this week-long celebration.<br><br> </p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/supporting-quality-in-summer-learning-how-districts-plan-develop-and-implement-programs.aspx?_ga=2.130479439.1378018415.1657643438-504352793.1654185536"> <strong> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/resources-to-help-guide-your-summer-learning-program/supporting-quality-in-summer-learning-full-report-a.jpg" alt="supporting-quality-in-summer-learning-full-report-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;146px;height&#58;188px;" />Supporting Quality in Summer Learning&#58; How Districts Plan, Develop, and Implement Programs</strong></a><strong>&#160;</strong>School district-led summer programs play a critical role in supporting students academically and providing them with enriching experiences. Drawing on existing research and the perspectives of policymakers and field professionals, this recently released report looks at the policies, practices and resources that go into the planning, development and operation of these programs.​<br><br></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/summer-for-all-building-coordinated-networks-promote-access-to-quality-summer-learning-enrichment.aspx?_ga=2.130479439.1378018415.1657643438-504352793.1654185536"><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/resources-to-help-guide-your-summer-learning-program/summer-for-all-building-coordinated-networks-promote-summer-learning-a.jpg" alt="summer-for-all-building-coordinated-networks-promote-summer-learning-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;145px;height&#58;207px;" />Summer for All&#58; Building Coordinated Networks to Promote Access to Quality Summer Learning and Enrichment Opportunities Across a Community</strong></a><strong>&#160;</strong>This report looks at how schools, community-based organizations and other civic organizations in four cities formed coordinated networks to increase access to high-quality summer programming for young people.<br><br></p><p> <br> </p><p> <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/two-summer-programs-inch-towards-normal-as-covid-subsides.aspx"><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-pandemic-summer-post-lg-feature.jpg" alt="blog-pandemic-summer-post-lg-feature.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;274px;height&#58;117px;" />Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides</strong></a>&#160;​Summer programs could be a key to addressing lost instructional and extracurricular time from COVID-19, and summer program leaders can learn a lot from the past two summers. Read about how two programs in New York and New Jersey have adapted to help young people through the pandemic, and how they’ve been preparing for this unpredictable summer.<br><br></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/resources-to-help-guide-your-summer-learning-program/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" alt="Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;144px;height&#58;206px;" />Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed.</strong></a>&#160;This report addresses questions about how to implement a high-quality summer learning program and offers evidence-based recommendations on such topics as timing, hiring and training, and how to recruit students. It also discusses the costs associated with offering a voluntary summer program and provides suggestions for lowering them, such as working with community-based organizations and consolidating program sites into as few buildings as possible.​<br><br></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx"><strong><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/resources-to-help-guide-your-summer-learning-program/blog-summer-learning-toolkit.jpg" alt="blog-summer-learning-toolkit.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;180px;height&#58;110px;" />Summer Learning Toolkit</strong></a><strong>&#160;</strong>One of our most popular resources, the Summer Learning Toolkit consists of more than 50, evidence-based tools and resources drawn from the work of five urban school districts and their partners, and aligned with research from RAND. It might be a bit late to start planning this year, but it’s never too early to start the pre-planning for next summer!</p>​<br>Jenna Doleh912022-07-13T04:00:00ZFrom research reports and our popular hands-on toolkit to interviews with program staff and parents, these materials can help you plan a high-quality summer program.7/13/2022 1:00:21 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Resources to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program From research reports and case studies to our popular hands-on toolkit 697https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides40943GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667;L0|#0890cbc1f-f78a-45e7-9bf2-a5986c564667|Social and Emotional Learning<p>​​T​​​​​​​​​​​​renton, N.J., <a href="https&#58;//www.nj.com/mercer/2014/04/from_iron_to_steel_to_pottery_trenton_once_flexed_industrial_might_for_world_to_take.html" target="_blank">a former manufacturing hub</a> where <a href="https&#58;//www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/trentoncitynewjersey/AGE775219#AGE775219" target="_blank">nearly a third of the population now lives in poverty</a>, is not known for nature or green spaces. It is understandable, then, that when two busloads of children from the city arrived last August at the&#160;<a href="https&#58;//princetonblairstown.org/" target="_blank">​​Princeton-Blairstown Center</a>, a bucolic, 268-acre environmental education center in Blairstown, N.J., some were a bit nervous.</p><p>When some two dozen children set out on canoes to explore the center’s Bass Lake, two stayed behind, both terrified of the unfamiliar body of water. Staffers had to coax them into the lake, first getting the children into life jackets, then helping them onto canoes, then gently bumping off the pier and, only when the panicked parties had found their sea legs, paddling off to join the other students in the center of the lake.<br></p><p> This is what the Princeton-Blairstown Center, a 114-year-old organization that brings students from some of the poorest parts of New Jersey to its campus in Blairstown every summer, calls “challenge by choice.” The goal is to help <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/podcast-lets-talk-social-and-emotional-learning-(sel)-podcast.aspx?_ga=2.40619170.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">build social and emotional skills</a> by getting children out of their comfort zones, helping them confront some fears and showing them how they could use those experiences to overcome challenges at home, in school and in their communities. The practice can cause its share of anxious outbursts, but staffers are trained to help students learn from them. “That’s the whole point of our activities,” says Christopher Trilleras, one of the counselors who helped the wobbly mariners onto Bass Lake. “To process frustrations at the end, to really talk about them and prevent them.”<br></p><p>Such<a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/helping-children-feel-safe,-understood-and-supported.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010"> social and emotional support is especially important</a> for children today, as the coronavirus pandemic has robbed them of months of school, play and interpersonal experimentation. The Wallace editorial team visited two summer programs in 2021—one operated by the Princeton-Blairstown Center and the other by <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/" target="_blank">The Fresh Air Fund</a> in New York City—to see how they worked to help young people overcome the effects of months of isolation, including social anxiety, emotional volatility and a lack of focus after several school terms spent spacing out on Zoom. Both programs have had to get creative with established practices to help young people through two Covid-infested summers, staffers say, and are learning from those experiences to take on an unpredictable summer ahead.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" id="div_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_fae0f294-6dd2-4d33-b4ca-9d4fcd783c83" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Old principles, new social and emotional needs<br></h3><p>The two organizations, both more than a century old, have well-developed practices to help young people develop the sorts of social and emotional skills that the pandemic appears to have compromised. When they take children out canoeing, for example, they’re working to help children build confidence to confront new experiences. When they design collaborative construction projects or obstacle courses, they’re looking to grease social wheels and encourage teamwork. When they teach kids to tend to vegetable gardens or model farms, they’re working to foster a sense of responsibility. The students’ mere presence in peaceful but unfamiliar outdoor spaces, far removed from their regular lives in urban centers such as Trenton, New York City and Newark, N.J., can help build relationships, says Pam Gregory, president and chief executive officer of the Princeton-Blairstown Center. “When you come together for a week with people who have a shared experience that’s really unique from most of the other people in your life,” she says, “you form a very close bond.” </p><p>Such practices can be insufficient in a pandemic, however. Months in isolation without social opportunities have made many young people more reluctant to try new things, program staffers say. Last August in Sunset Park, a diverse, middle-class neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., about 30 tots and tweens spent a morning practicing crafts, learning to dance and racing handmade carts on a street blocked off for summer programs by The Fresh Air Fund. Most seemed comfortable enough, but one 10-year-old clung to a counselor, too uncomfortable to approach the others. It was a situation familiar to Jane Li, an area resident whose son faced similar anxieties when he first came to The Fresh Air Fund.&#160; “Sometimes in the beginning, he’s a little withdrawn,” Li says of her son. “Maya, the counselor, she talks to him, plays games with him, gets him warmed up and gradually join the small group and then the bigger group.” </p><p>Some counselors are even able to use the pandemic to help students deal with deeper traumas. Many students who find their way to the Princeton-Blairstown Center or The Fresh Air Fund have histories of homelessness, domestic abuse or worse. Tabs Alam, a senior environmental education facilitator at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, speaks of group sessions with students where conversations began with talk of the pandemic but ended with discussion of more visceral worries about home, family, friends and poverty. Some students will admit how they find lockdowns especially hard, Alam says, because home has never been safe for them. </p><p>“Covid was a vessel to have people think about themselves a little bit more,” she says.<br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" id="div_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on"></div><div id="vid_c042efd2-9392-414f-9c95-097f0727d9c0" unselectable="on" style="display&#58;none;"></div></div><h3 class="wf-Element-H3"> <br>Learning Without Knowing It</h3><p>There are fewer silver linings when it comes to academics, however. School closures and other pandemic-related disruptions have set students, especially “historically marginalized students,” months behind, according to <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/education/our-insights/covid-19-and-education-the-lingering-effects-of-unfinished-learning" target="_blank">consulting firm McKinsey &amp; Company</a>. Basic math and English are rarely the central focus of programs like The Fresh Air Fund and the Princeton-Blairstown Center, but they are still working to help students regain the ground they’ve lost. </p><p>Both face two major constraints when doing so. For one thing, &#160;they can’t really drag children into classrooms and force them to make up for the academics they’ve lost. <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx?_ga=2.47824935.1045308987.1648136693-1352763000.1643649010">Research suggests</a> that attendance is a key component of student success, and students are unlikely to want to attend if they’re crammed back into rooms after months spent indoors. </p><p>For another,&#160;both programs have less time than usual to dedicate to academics. In normal times, the Princeton-Blairstown Center would host its students for at least five days, while The Fresh Air Fund would shuttle campers to nature reserves north of New York City for two weeks. In 2021, after a season spent online, the Princeton-Blairstown Center was able to offer four days of programming in parks and schoolyards in its students' communities and a fifth-day daytrip to Blairstown. The Fresh Air Fund had to move most activities to New York City, cordoning off streets for camp-like activities for two, three-hour sessions a day, four days a week. </p><p>Both programs work to meet these twin challenges by doubling down on one of the things they do best&#58; making learning fun. “We like to fold education in without kids knowing that they’re learning,” says Sheila Wilson-Wells, chief program officer of The Fresh Air Fund. The programs feature libraries that staffers encourage students to use and quiet spaces where students can read, reflect and write. They also offer activities such as cooking, architecture and soil and water analysis that help students brush up on science and math. “For a lot of the young people that we serve, it’s the first time that they understand that learning can be fun,” Gregory says. “Because it’s hands-on, not just sitting there doing worksheets or a lecture.”</p><p>“Throughout their time with us, they’re learning,” adds Wilson-Wells. “From the time they get off the bus and they don’t even know it.”</p><p>Such subtle blends of academics, fun and social and emotional learning are essential in summer programs, say Aaron Dworkin and Broderick Clarke of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/" target="_blank">National Summer Learning Association</a>​ (NSLA), especially in the wake of a crippling pandemic. “We have to get away from false-choice binary arguments that are a waste of time,” says&#160;Dworkin, chief executive officer of the NSLA. “Do kids need academic help or do they need social emotional help? They need both.”</p><p>“The best practitioners don't necessarily make that distinction or separation,” adds&#160;Clarke, the association’s vice president for programs. “They figure out a way to make the magic happen and to incorporate social and emotional competencies in the course of whatever activities they're presenting.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">O to Struggle Against Great Odds…</h3><p>Summer programs must make this magic happen while dealing with their own daunting challenges, from staff burnout and fatigue to the limited time they have with their campers. Three characteristics help them do so, say staffers from the two programs&#58; flexibility, partnerships and continuous improvement.</p><p>Both programs have had to be nimble to offer children as much programming as the pandemic permits. When the coronavirus shut everything down in 2020, for example, the Princeton-Blairstown Center sent its students “PBC in a Bag,” kits with books, snacks and the materials they needed for daily activities such as building catapults and seeing how far they could shoot projectiles across their rooms. After each activity, counselors led discussions on Zoom and helped students draw lessons from the experience. “It was very challenging for our facilitators,” says&#160;Gregory, “but over time they perfected it.”</p><p>The following summer, as the relative safety of outdoor gatherings became clearer, the Princeton-Blairstown Center resumed in-person activities. It still couldn’t host people overnight, as most parents were still nervous about children sharing rooms, so it devised its schedule of four days in students’ neighborhoods and one at its Blairstown campus so students could get at least a little taste of nature. It isn’t much, but Richad Hollis, a rising eighth grader from Trenton visiting the center in August, appeared to appreciate it. “In Trenton, it’s just streets and people playing outside,” he said. “Here, it’s a whole creek right over here. It’s just way more stuff that you can do other than just running around in the streets.”</p><p>The Fresh Air Fund never stopped in-person programming, but it created <a href="https&#58;//freshair.org/summer-spaces/" target="_blank">a new Summer Spaces</a> program to avoid crowding children into buses or dorms. It blocked traffic on 11 city blocks throughout New York City and opened them up so children could drop in for activities including dancing, sports, STEM projects and arts and crafts. Each site featured two health and safety officers to ensure adherence to pandemic protocols and social workers traveled from site to site to help acclimate children unnerved by the sudden onslaught of social activity. </p><p>These adaptations would have been impossible without partnerships, says Wilson-Wells. To find and secure city blocks, staffers worked with communities, city councilmembers and the New York City Department of Transportation. To offer dance lessons, they recruited performers through a partnership with&#160; the <a href="https&#58;//www.abt.org/" target="_blank">American Ballet Theatre</a>. To help teach science, they asked for help from <a href="https&#58;//www.biobus.org/" target="_blank">Biobus</a>, a New York City-based organization that runs mobile labs for children. To get books, they worked with the Brooklyn and Queens libraries. “There were so many wonderful partners that really pulled together to do comprehensive services,” Wilson-Wells says, “so we can ensure that, even in the pandemic, we were able to impart learning moments.”</p><p>There are about 22 million children who receive free or reduced-price lunches in American schools, according to the <a href="https&#58;//schoolnutrition.org/aboutschoolmeals/schoolmealtrendsstats/" target="_blank">School Nutrition Association</a>, a trade group for the school-food-service industry. Such partnerships are essential to get those children the services they need, says Aaron Dworkin of the NSLA. “No one program can serve 22 million kids,” he says. “But collectively, we can.”</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">…To Meet Enemies Undaunted</h3><p>Both programs are now using these experiences to gear up for an uncertain summer ahead, inching towards traditional programming, keeping what worked during the pandemic and tweaking what did not. The Fresh Air Fund plans to reopen camps for two-week experiences again. But 2022 will include important adjustments to help students and staffers adapt and respond to new realities. The organization will open just four of its six camps and limit capacity to 50 percent. The reduction in size, says Wilson-Wells, should help get campers the extra attention they need, give staffers room to reacquaint themselves with camp life and ensure everyone has enough space to return to social distancing should that become necessary. </p><p>To help meet the demand it cannot meet at its condensed camps, The Fresh Air Fund will continue to operate the Summer Spaces program it created during the pandemic. However, as it begins to direct resources back to more traditional programs, it will trim that program from 11 sites to four, focusing on neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the pandemic and where families have expressed the greatest interest. </p><p>All experiences, both at the camps and in New York City, will still include the health and safety workers who&#160;helped ensure adherence​​ to Covid restrictions during the pandemic. Staffers felt kids could use more social and emotional support, however, so the fund will replace its traveling social workers with support staffers dedicated to each site. “We're hoping that that will allow us to have organic conversations with young people to really hear how we can best serve them,” says Wilson-Wells.</p><p>The Princeton-Blairstown Center, meanwhile, is staying flexible. It will begin to host groups for overnight sessions at Blairstown if the parents, schools and organizations that send them are comfortable. But it will keep a pandemic schedule to accommodate students from communities with low vaccination rates, those who may live with vulnerable family members in multigenerational households and those whose regular teachers are too Covid-worn to chaperone them.</p><p>Like The Fresh Air Fund, the center is adapting that pandemic schedule based on observations from the last two years. The one, five-hour day at Blairstown seemed rushed in 2021, Gregory says, so the center&#160; may expand it to an eight-hour day for children who cannot visit for a whole week. The extra time, says Gregory, would allow children to experience more of the pastoral expanse of the Blairstown campus, learn more about their relationships with nature and form closer bonds with each other. “Dosage matters,” she says. “The amount of time kids spend doing the activities matters a lot.”<br></p><p>The center will also tweak its curriculum to adapt to shifting needs during the pandemic. In 2021, most students read <em>Seedfolks</em>, a book about 13&#160;children of different ethnicities tending a community garden in Cleveland. To spark conversations, counselors asked students which of the book's characters they found most relatable. The book remains the same for 2022, but the discussion will now focus on the plants in the garden and what they could teach campers about sprouting from the ashes of a pandemic. &quot;It's to provide kids with more of an opportunity to talk about how challenging it's been,&quot; Gregory says, &quot;and what they need moving forward.&quot; </p><p>It is unclear whether such careful planning can help children recover from the two years they have lost to the pandemic. Many parents and educators, however, are happy just to see them get out, let loose and have fun again. “They were free to run,” says Alice Lightner, a parent who was chaperoning children in Blairstown in August. “They were free to play, free to explore and engage with their peers.”</p><p>“Getting in touch with nature, just a quick walk, you feel so at peace,” adds Samantha Elliott, another parent. “I just saved probably about $500 from the therapist.”<br></p> <p><em>Additional reporting, editing and production work by </em><a href="/about-wallace/people/pages/jenna-doleh.aspx"><em>Jenna Doleh</em></a><em>.</em><br></p>Sarosh Z. Syed502022-03-29T04:00:00ZThe Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on creativity, flexibility and self-reflection to help kids rise from the ashes of a pandemic7/26/2022 1:07:26 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Two Summer Programs Inch Towards Normal as Covid Subsides The Princeton-Blairstown Center and The Fresh Air Fund lean on 5281https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools14057GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​​“While last year was the most difficult year we’ve probably had as educators, this upcoming year is the most important year,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in an opening statement during the U.S. Department of Education’s final <a href="https&#58;//compcenternetwork.org/national-center/6827/summer-learning-enrichment-collaborative-events" target="_blank">Summer Learning &amp; Enrichment Collaborative Virtual Session</a> last month.</p><p>Earlier conversations in the seven-part series focused on such topics as forming state-level coalitions, using evidence to inform summer programs, tapping ​federal funds to promote equity through summer enrichment opportunities. This last session, however, addressed perhaps the country’s most important stakeholders&#58; students. </p><p>“We know students have a voice, and they have a lot to say. We have to make sure we’re designed to listen,” Cardona said.</p><p>Cardona kicked off the convening in <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgICxaHfdIw" target="_blank">conversation</a>&#160;with a panel of students from around the country, who discussed what they’d gained from their various summer programs. </p><p>“We had different things for everybody, and I really enjoyed how inclusive and how much of a family my summer program is,” said Noah Shaw of his experience at the Miller Boys and Girls Club in Murray, Utah. </p><p>Mkayla Rowell, a freshman at Cleveland School of Architecture and Design at the John Hay Campus who participated in the Cleveland Metro School District Summer Learning Experience as a teacher, said the aspect she liked most about the program was being able to help kids who are younger than she is.&#160;​​​<br></p><p>“I really enjoyed just connecting with a younger generation and teaching them things that would’ve helped me when I was their age growing up in the city,” she said. </p><p>The students and young educators also offered their advice to education leaders for how to reimagine, redesign and rebuild engaging learning and enrichment opportunities throughout the year. </p><p>“Because most of us are transitioning from a school year that was mainly virtual, it’s going to be difficult for students to go back to in-person school,” said Kwynsky Miguel, a Lehigh University freshman, who worked over the summer at a program he attended in the past,&#160;the Aim High Summer Program in San Francisco. “I recommend teachers be very patient with their students rather than rushing them, because everyone will have a different pace going back into school. I really think being patient will help your students see that you want them to succeed and you really care about their mental well-being.”&#160; </p><p>In fact, a common theme throughout the conversation was the importance of creating a safe space, not just physically but mentally as well.</p><p>“I think the best advice I can give is just to be persistent with students,” Noah Shaw said. “Because I know some students have stuff going on at home, and that makes them want to give up and be antisocial, and their grades can fail. A great thing is to be persistent in making sure they’re okay...make sure you stick with them, never give up.”</p><p>Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also participated in the meetings that followed the roundtable with the youth leaders to provide updates on guidance and resources for a healthy and safe return to school. Their recommendations for schools included promoting vaccines to those who are eligible, wearing masks indoors, maintaining three feet of distance between others, washing hands, improving ventilation systems and staying home when sick.&#160; </p><p>“Transitioning in times of physical distancing, masks and extra stress is extra hard,” said&#160;Lara Robinson, a behavioral scientist with the Child Development Studies Team at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “Teachers, parents and programs can help children by planning the transition, making strong connections and establishing new routines. With the right support, children can adjust to their new program, make new friends, learn new things and strive.”</p><p>Attendees of the virtual meeting also had the opportunity to join tabletop discussions. One of them, <em>Engaging Educators, Families, Students in Planning Summer and the Return to School,</em> examined innovations employed by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and district partners for a “whole child, whole community” recovery from the pandemic. </p><p>Representatives from the district showed how they developed a vision for post-pandemic learning that includes competency-based education, anytime/anywhere and whole human learning, along with personalized learner pathways. This summer, Cleveland had the opportunity to implement some of these principles during their Summer Learning Experience. Teachers submitted creative ideas for projects to implement during two separate four-week summer sessions, which more than 8,000 students participated in. </p><p>“We saw our kids do amazing work,” said Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union. “Our educators came away invigorated with the different things they had done; our students were excited to share what they learned. And now the task for us is to build upon what we have been doing over the summer and start bringing this to scale during the course of the normal school year with a larger number of our students and educators.” </p><p>Schools in Cleveland will return to in-person instruction in the fall, with a new remote school option. The district is working diligently to create an experience that aimed at making&#160;students want to be in school. Educators and administrators are implementing a more inclusive dress code and offering expanded enrichment and extracurricular activities such as band, choir, fitness and pottery classes, along with the supports to make them accessible for students.&#160;&#160; </p><p>In addition, this fall, on October 28, the <a href="http&#58;//www.afterschoolalliance.org/loa.cfm" target="_blank">22nd annual Lights On Afterschool</a> will take place. In a typical year, more than 8,000 afterschool programs around the country hold events to showcase their programs. According to Tiyana Glenn, a project associate at the Afterschool Alliance, this event is a chance for afterschool programs to celebrate and showcase exactly what they do everyday, as well as make their case to their community, to parents, to policymakers and to the media that afterschool programs are essential for students and their families. </p><p>Kwynsky Miguel, the teacher-assistant at Aim High Summer Program, made the case for summer and out of school time programs and how they can both help students and adults adapt to new situations that might come up in the school year.</p><p>“I knew this was a safe space for me to be who I am as well as to learn from others,” she said. “The whole experience of meeting new people and learning about their story was such a surreal moment that I really appreciate Aim High for—for showing me that it’s okay to be new to a whole new environment as well as knowing when it’s right to let yourself be comfortable with new people.”&#160; </p><p>In his roundtable with the students, Cardona also stressed that schools and afterschool programs can help provide a much-needed sense of community for kids this fall. </p> “Schools, school communities, and good summer programs are like second families,” he said. “There’s a sense of community there that, I think, sometimes we overlook. We don’t talk about that as educators as much. Schools are communities for our students.&quot;<p></p>Jenna Doleh912021-09-16T04:00:00ZStudents, educators and others at U.S. Department of Education convening encourage patience, safe spaces, increased support as students return this fall.9/16/2021 3:13:46 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Students Around the Country Offer Advice for Re-Opening Schools Students, educators and others at U.S. Department of 831https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success14175GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​​​​​​​By providing free and accessible summer learning activities and reading materials, <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/blog/reimagining-summer-learning-during-the-pandemic" target="_blank">even during the pandemic</a>, public libraries have a unique role in the summer learning landscape. Libraries are one of the most trusted institutions in the communities they serve, <a href="https&#58;//www.nextlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PI_2017.09.11_FactsAndInfo_1-02.png" target="_blank">according to Pew research</a>. They are also one of the widest-reaching—there are <a href="https&#58;//www.imls.gov/news/imls-releases-new-data-american-public-libraries" target="_blank">more U.S. library branches</a> than <a href="https&#58;//www.scrapehero.com/location-reports/Starbucks-USA/" target="_blank">Starbucks locations</a>, and visiting the library is the <a href="https&#58;//news.gallup.com/poll/284009/library-visits-outpaced-trips-movies-2019.aspx" target="_blank">most common cultural activity</a> for Americans, having outpaced visits to movies or sporting events by a wide margin in the pre-pandemic world. </p><div> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Liz_headshot.jpg" alt="Liz_headshot.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;220px;" /> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span></div><div>In fact, public libraries have been providing learning materials and opportunities to youth in the summertime for over a century. This began with the distribution of Victorian-era reading lists designed to keep youth on the moral path. Today, the efforts of libraries, and their partners, have become more joyous&#58; making available beautiful, culturally appropriate books and other resources to support young people in myriad ways, from letting them indulge in the simple pleasure of reading to helping them develop 21st century learning skills.</div><div> <br> </div><div>For over half a decade, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has taken a leading role in catalyzing the evolution of public libraries as essential hubs and partners for summer learning. ULC is a think and action tank of leading North American public libraries with a primary focus on advancing more positive outcomes for all youth by dismantling barriers they face, providing them with high-quality learning opportunities and strengthening local partnerships between libraries and other educational institutions.</div><div> <br> </div><div>ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/the-leaders-library-card-challenge/participating-libraries" target="_blank">Leaders Library Card Challenge</a>—which started as an Obama Administration initiative—has equipped more than 4 million K-12 students with library cards, an achievement made possible by partnerships forged between libraries, local schools and mayors and county executives. ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/stem-middle-school" target="_blank">Partners for Middle School STEM</a> initiative aligns libraries, local governments, schools and businesses to increase high-quality STEM learning opportunities for middle grade youth from low-income families—positioning the library as a critical partner in fixing the “leaky” STEM pipeline.</div><p> <br>ULC’s focus on building partnerships to strengthen summer learning started in 2016, when we published the <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/assets/Leadership_Brief_Expanding_Summer.pdf" target="_blank"> <em>Libraries Expanding Summer Opportunities</em></a>&#160;leadership brief in collaboration with the National Summer Learning Association, the pre-eminent authority on summer learning in the United States. That pivotal document has directly helped to shape the ways that libraries think and go about their work to support youth during the summer—shifting from a focus on “summer reading” to “<a href="https&#58;//journals.ala.org/index.php/cal/article/view/7200/9831" target="_blank">summer learning</a>,” intentionally addressing a wide range of academic and developmental challenges.</p><p>Driving that shift is a growing recognition of the importance of summer learning for improving the lives of all youth, and the unique role that libraries can play in supporting those opportunities. Over the past two summers, the devastating impact of COVID-19 has made it more important than ever for communities to leverage the unique capacity of libraries as partners for addressing learning loss.</p><p> <strong>Combating opportunity &amp; achievement gaps</strong></p><p>Even before COVID-19, much research had been compiled about the widening of achievement and opportunity gaps between students from low-income families and their peers from higher-income families during the summer months. Emerging post-pandemic data now also reveals profound inequities for children who have been historically excluded, including Black, Hispanic and Indigenous youth. Research from McKinsey &amp; Associates reported in <a href="https&#58;//www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/covid-19-and-learning-loss-disparities-grow-and-students-need-help" target="_blank">Mind the Gap</a> shows the disparities in access and educational equity which have created barriers to learning. &#160;</p><p>The good news is that high-quality summer learning can make a real difference for children, as&#160;<a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">research</a> clearly shows. The National Academy of Sciences, too, recently released a <a href="https&#58;//www.nationalacademies.org/our-work/summertime-experiences-and-child-and-adolescent-education-health-and-safety" target="_blank">study</a>, which analyzes availability, accessibility, equity and effectiveness of summer learning experiences in conjunction with overall health, social-emotional and safety outcomes for youth.<br><br><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/how-libraries-can-partner-with-communities-for-summer-learning-success/Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" alt="Active_Learning_NOT4.jpg" />​​<br><br>While <a href="https&#58;//www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/04/29/covid-19-the-educational-equity-crisis-and-the-opportunity-ahead/" target="_blank">learning loss research</a> underscores the importance of helping youth in Kindergarten through third grade recover or level-up reading and math skills, the further good news is that public libraries across the country are offering reading and learning programs targeted to these ages during critical out-of-school time periods, including summer. Early math, social-emotional learning and play-based programming are also part of these efforts.</p><p>Complementing these programs are workshops for parents and caregivers, offering them meaningful time to reflect on learning. Additionally, understanding that we must reduce barriers to youth learning, thousands of public libraries that serve young people living in poverty now tap federal food programs to offer <a href="https&#58;//www.cslpreads.org/libraries-and-summer-food/" target="_blank">meals</a> and afterschool snacks.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p><p>In the words of Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch Director for Branch Libraries and Education at the New York Public Library, “Summer is a time of immense inequities for America’s youth. The public library is uniquely poised to reach children with high-quality books, STEM and active learning activities that I have personally seen … [improve] anticipated outcomes for our youth.” </p><p>Programs such as the New York Public Library’s <a href="https&#58;//www.nypl.org/summer/book-kits" target="_blank">book and activity give-away</a>—which provides children and teens with totes or colorful drawstring bags filled with age-appropriate books and other goodies—&#160;show how libraries continue to innovate to reach children during COVID-19 and Summer 2021. For another great example, look to <a href="https&#58;//www.cantonrep.com/story/news/2021/07/12/heart-stark-stark-county-district-library-offers-summer-fun-school/7908675002/" target="_blank">The Stark District Library</a> in Canton, Ohio, which is working with a local elementary school to provide learning activities for over 2,000 rising kindergarteners through third graders with targeted learning interventions, book ownership and meals. </p><p> <strong>Partnering for greater equity</strong></p><p>All education institutions—and libraries are no exception—confront systemic barriers that limit opportunity, particularly for those from traditionally marginalized populations or who are living in low-income households. One obstacle facing many children and their caregivers is lack of access to the reliable transportation needed to visit library buildings and other institutions in person. A related&#160;barrier, hindering both reaching and engaging youth, is inadequate digital access. <a href="https&#58;//www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/22/digital-divide-persists-even-as-americans-with-lower-incomes-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/" target="_blank">Pew research suggests</a> that “35% of lower-income households with school-age children [do] not have a broadband internet connection at home.” </p><p>By convening and strengthening partnerships with summer and out-of-school program providers, libraries can help bring literacy and learning programs to children and families who would not otherwise have access. Relationships with park districts enable libraries to provide literacy and other educational opportunities to campers and youth living in areas where they may not otherwise have access to learning resources. Our ability to share program materials makes us a strong ally of community camps and other summer programs. And, critically, our relationships with schools allow us to align summer learning activities to school priorities. </p><p>In addition, public libraries develop partnerships with cultural institutions and with organizations across the nation to promote more equitable outcomes for young people and ensure our program content is culturally appropriate and healing. The <a href="https&#58;//sfpl.org/events/special-programs" target="_blank">Summer S​tride</a> program at the San Francisco Public Library, for example, involves a partnership with the local Human Rights Commission to develop deeper connections to communities where youth have been historically excluded from high-quality summer programming access. As another example, <a href="https&#58;//www.crlibrary.org/" target="_blank">Cedar Rapids Public Library</a> forged a partnership with Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation’s Rollin’ Recmobile to offer unique tech learning opportunities at four parks per week throughout the summer, providing youth with access to e-readers, laptops, robotics and more.</p><p>The Urban Libraries Council continues to find ways to support the essential role of libraries in the&#160;&#160;education ecosystem. Over the past year and half, ULC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.urbanlibraries.org/initiatives/" target="_blank">Partnering with Schools</a> action team has been researching and working on tools to help libraries across the nation rethink and recommit to partnerships with their local school districts, including aligning library work to efforts to help children and teens accelerate their learning after the instructional losses caused by the pandemic. In June, the Urban Libraries Council supported the development of the National Summer Learning Association’s <a href="https&#58;//discoversummer.inplay.org/" target="_blank">Discover Summer</a> web app, which is designed to help families nationwide locate accessible summer learning opportunities in their local communities, including public library programming.</p><p>“Public libraries are uniquely positioned to help all kids rise and close … [education] gaps,” said the National Summer Learning Association’s president and CEO, Aaron Dworkin. “It’s going to take the enormous energy and heart of us all, working together to make a meaningful difference.” Luckily, many tools and models to activate these opportunities already exist. The Wallace Foundation has given out-of-school and summer providers a <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">toolkit</a> to develop vigorous summer learning programs that help build equity and develop strong outcomes. Libraries can play a critical partner role through each phase of this toolkit—from recruiting youth, strengthening academics and enrichment opportunities, offering safe and resource-rich learning sites, filling staffing gaps and supporting program planning. Together with libraries, summer learning program providers can drive deep, meaningful and equitable outcomes for youth that will last a lifetime.<br></p><p> <em>Photos courtesy of Urban Libraries Council and Chicago Public Library.</em><br></p>Elizabeth McChesney1172021-07-28T04:00:00ZPublic libraries have long been poised to help strengthen learning opportunities and equitable outcomes for youth9/27/2022 5:28:14 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Libraries Can Partner with Communities for Summer Learning Success Public libraries have long been poised to help 1632https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program9774GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61​ <p>​​It’s been said thousands of times but bears repeating&#58; the summer of 2021 promises to be a most unusual one as schools, districts, nonprofits, parents and others roll up their sleeves to help counteract some of the learning losses of the pandemic—and simply bring children together again safely. Then again, what could be more normal than corralling a group of children in summer, whether to learn how to multiply fractions or swing a bat? <br></p><p>As Summer Learning Week begins, we’ve pulled together an unofficial list of Wallace’s Top 5 Summer Learning Publications. A majority of the research stems from the experiences of five urban school districts and their partners who formed Wallace’s <a href="/how-we-work/our-work/pages/summer-learning.aspx">National Summer Learning Project</a> (NSLP) from 2011 through 2016. While the most current findings and popular tools headline the list, there is much more to be discovered in the <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/pages/default.aspx">Summer Learning section</a> of Wallace’s Knowledge Center, all of which can be easily downloaded free of charge.<br> <br> </p> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" alt="Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;286px;" /></a> <span style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;"></span> <div><strong>1.</strong><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">The </a> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/getting-to-work-on-summer-learning-2nd-ed.aspx">First Stop for Summer Learning Practitioners</a>&#160;</div><p>Based on the RAND Corporation’s evaluations from the NSLP, <em>Getting to Work on Summer Learning&#58; Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd ed </em>addresses questions about how to implement a high-quality summer learning program and offers evidence-based recommendations around such topics as timing, hiring and training, and how to recruit students. For example, do you know the recommended month to begin planning a summer program? (If you guessed January, gold star.) Many more specific recommendations and guidance await your perusal. <br><br></p> ​ <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" alt="Every-Summer-Counts-A-Longitudinal-Analysis-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;287px;" /></a><strong>2.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx">Running a High-Quality Program Shows Meaningful Results</a><br> <em>Every Summer Counts&#58; A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project </em>also stems from RAND and the NSLP and finds both short-term and long-term benefits among students who consistently attended voluntary five- to six-week summer learning programs. The largest and longest study of its kind, the research confirms previous studies finding that after the first summer high-attenders outperformed control group members in math, and after the second summer, high-attenders saw advantages in math, language arts and social-emotional skills. This report shows that even three years after the second summer, while academic benefits had decreased in magnitude and were not statistically significant, they remained educationally meaningful. All of this suggests that summer programs can be an important component in how school districts support learning and skill development, particularly for children from low-income families who may face widening achievement and opportunity gaps in any summer, let alone this one post-COVID.<div><br><p></p><p> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" alt="toolkit.final-WEB-titles.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;200px;" /></a><strong>3.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/summer-learning/toolkit/pages/default.aspx">A Hands-On How-To Guide for High-Quality Summer Learning</a><br> This online resource hub houses more than 50 evidence-based tools, templates and resources used successfully by NSLP’s districts and their partners. Additional resources created by field experts round out the offerings, all of which are aligned to RAND’s key research findings and contain guidance for how to use them. Each section of the toolkit includes a timeline for when you should start thinking about the various components of planning and design. Maybe you’re late to the toolkit for this summer, but fear not, you can begin many of the pre-planning and logistical steps for next summer this fall. <br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Out-of-School-Time-Programs-This-Summer.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" alt="Learning-Heroes-Finding-Passion-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;113px;" /></a><strong>4.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/Pages/Out-of-School-Time-Programs-This-Summer.aspx">What Parents Want from Out-of-School Programs This Summer</a><br> For this recently released study, Edge Research and Learning Heroes surveyed parents of K-8th grade children, out-of-school-time (OST) professionals, field leaders and others to explore the unique role OST programs play in youth development compared with home and school as well as the impact of COVID-19 for this summer and beyond. Among the many nuggets, the researchers found that parents were indeed concerned about the impact of the pandemic, with many expressing fears that their children were struggling academically, socially and emotionally. Overall parents identified three priorities for what they’d like to see summer programming address for their children&#58; their social and emotional health, providing them with physical outdoor activities and helping them discover their passion and purpose. ​​<br><br></p><p><a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx"><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/5-Reports-and-Tools-to-Help-Guide-Your-Summer-Learning-Program/Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" alt="Wallace-Foundation-Brief-Implement-Considerations-Summer-Learn-w-Annotated-Bib-March-2021-a.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;278px;" />​</a><strong>5.</strong> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/evidence-based-considerations-covid-19-reopening-recovery-planning-summer-learning-with-academic-non-academic-activities.aspx">Federal Funds Are Now Available for Summer Learning</a><br> Complementing parents’ concern for their children’s academic, social and emotional well-being, the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act has made funds available to states and districts to speed up recovery from the effects of the pandemic, including addressing learning loss. In <em>Evidence-based Considerations for COVID-19 Reopening and Recovery Planning&#58; Summer Learning with Academic and Non-Academic Activities, </em>Wallace has distilled evidence from our summer-learning work that may be helpful in informing choices about how to spend those funds, as well as how to implement key strategies. The paper includes an annotated bibliography with links to resources and tools (more than we could fit in this Top 5 list, so it’s a bonus!). ​<br><br></p></div>Wallace editorial team792021-07-09T04:00:00ZEverything from planning district-wide summer programs to maximizing resources available under the American Rescue Plan Act—and Wallace’s popular summer learning toolkit7/9/2021 1:56:13 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / 5 Reports and Tools to Help Guide Your Summer Learning Program Everything from planning district-wide summer programs to 764https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for Youth9939GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>​​​As the summer of 2021 begins, many students and families are struggling to recover from the isolation, disruption and instructional loss of the pandemic. Summer programs could help. But according to a recent study that looks in-depth at summer learning in 2019 and 2020, student participation in programs remains low, despite some recent growth and soaring parent satisfaction. For every child in a summer learning program in 2019, another was waiting to get in, according to a recently released report, <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/america-after-3pm-time-for-a-game-changing-summer-with-opportunity-and-growth-for-all-of-americas-youth.aspx">Time for a Game-Changing Summer, With Opportunity and Growth for All of America’s Youth</a><u>.</u></p><p>Commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance and conducted by Edge Research, the study is based on responses from more than 29,500 U.S. families and builds on household surveys conducted in 2004, 2009 and 2014. It also includes national findings from smaller surveys of parents and program providers conducted in summer and fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, and offers a snapshot of how children and youth spent their summers before and during the pandemic.</p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" alt="NikkiYamashiro-crop.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;183px;height&#58;222px;" />The Wallace Blog caught up Nikki Yamashiro, vice president of research at the Afterschool Alliance, to discuss the implic​ations of the survey and what they might mean for a post-pandemic world. </p><p><strong>In the summer of 2019, participation in summer programming was at the highest level ever recorded by </strong><strong>America After 3PM, but the demand is far from being met. Can you talk more about this? </strong></p><p>This is a great place to start—these are two of the key findings from our report. It’s true, <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-Time-for-a-Game-Changing-Summer-2021-Executive-Summary.pdf">we found that between 2008 and 2019, participation in summer programs was on the rise</a>, but despite this increase, for every child in a summer program in 2019, there was another who would have been enrolled if a program were available. Similar to what we found regarding unmet demand for afterschool programs in our America After 3PM report, “<a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/AA3PM-2020/AA3PM-National-Report.pdf">Demand Grows, Opportunity Shrinks</a>,” the number of children who are missing out on the opportunities that summer programs offer is immense. Overall, 13.9 million children, nearly 1 in 3 not in a program during the 2019 summer, would have been enrolled in one. </p><p><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Study-Finds-Cost-a-Key-Barrier-to-Summer-Programs-for-Youth/AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" alt="AA3PM-Summer-Participation.png" style="color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;margin&#58;5px;" /><br></p><p>What this tells us is that not only is there a tremendous demand for summer programs in the U.S., there is an overwhelming need for increased access to affordable summer programming in the U.S. When we take a look at who’s participating in programs, we found that higher income children are nearly three times more likely to participate in a structured summer experience than children from lower income families.</p><p><strong>Why are kids from families with low incomes missing out on summer programs? What barriers are they facing and what kind of support/funding can help?</strong><br></p><p>To sum it up in one word, cost. The cost of summer programs is by far the largest hurdle for families with low incomes. Our study found that more than two in five parents with low incomes who didn’t have a child in a summer program (44 percent) report that cost was an important reason why they chose not to enroll their child, nearly 10 percentage points above that of higher income households (35 percent). Transportation and not knowing what programs were available are also notable barriers, with more than one in five parents with low incomes reporting these as a factors keeping their child out of a summer program. </p><p>Unfortunately, this disparity of who can and who can’t afford programs isn’t exclusive to the summer—we found that families in the highest income bracket spend more than five times as much on out-of-school-time activities for one child annually than families in the lowest income bracket.</p><p>A bright spot is the infusion of funding through the American Rescue Plan to state and local education agencies that is being used to support summer enrichment, comprehensive afterschool and learning recovery programs. Through this investment in summer, as well as in afterschool programs, our hope is that more children and families will be able to connect to programs in their community. </p><p><strong>How have parents’ priorities when it comes to summer programs changed since COVID-19? What is the impact of the pandemic on future demand?</strong></p><p>This most likely isn’t a surprise to parents who are reading this, but for families who wanted a structured summer experience for their children, we didn’t find a significant shift in the leading factors parents said were most important to them in 2019 and what was most important to them in 2020. Outside of safety and cleaning precautions against COVID-19, which were new priorities for parents in 2020, the key drivers behind parents choosing their child’s summer activity, both before and during the pandemic, were a safe environment, knowledgeable and caring staff, and opportunities to build social skills. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>A <a href="https&#58;//mercuryllc.app.box.com/s/wse3fs55ll635j7oi92gsv3a0uyw6uwz/file/817680950770">recent survey of parents</a> asking about plans for this summer found that most families are prioritizing outdoor, physical, social, and/or non-traditional enrichment programs (62 percent). </p><p><strong>According to the survey, 79</strong><strong> percent</strong><strong> of summer programs plan to offer in-person and/or virtual activities for kids this year. What are some of the new challenges the providers face this summer due to COVID-19?</strong></p><p>That’s an excellent question. We have a survey in the field right now to ask summer program providers exactly that. The purpose of the survey is to gain an understanding of the supports and services they’re providing this summer and the challenges they’re encountering in this second summer of the pandemic. Based on anecdotal stories from the field about plans for this summer and what we found in <a href="http&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Afterschool-COVID-19-Wave-2-Brief.pdf">last year’s summer provider survey</a> and a <a href="https&#58;//afterschoolalliance.org/covid/Ongoing-Look-at-Afterschool-in-the-Time-of-COVID-19.cfm">recent spring 2021 provider survey</a>, we anticipate that staffing issues will continue to be a challenge, specifically hiring enough staff for in-person programming and the programs’ capacity to provide in-person services to every young person who would like to attend. Together with the recent survey of parents mentioned earlier, where more than 3 in 5 parents report that they feel comfortable sending their child to in-person summer experiences (63 percent), signs point to an increased demand for summer programs compared to the summer of 2020, but only time will tell. We’re looking forward to reporting back what we uncover. </p><p><strong>What would you like policymakers to take away from this survey?</strong></p><p>It’s my view that the findings from the survey all boil down to one fundamental premise—to meet the need for summer programming among families, in particular families with low incomes, greater investment in summer learning is critical. We found that parents value the time during the summers for their children to discover new interests, build connections, and be active and outdoors. Parents have increasingly wanted more structured summer opportunities for their children. And, during the pandemic, families counted on summer programs for supports ranging from helping their child stay connected to their peers to connecting families with community resources. Yet for many children and families, summer programs are out of reach. Taken together, these findings paint a picture of the importance of more opportunities for summer learning. With nearly 14 million children who would be enrolled in a summer program if one were available to them, the need for additional investment in summer programs to make certain that all children are able to access quality, affordable summer learning opportunities is undeniable.</p>Jenna Doleh912021-06-23T04:00:00ZDespite high demand, especially with the pandemic, summer programs are still out of reach for too many children.6/23/2021 5:00:25 AMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Study Finds Cost a Key Barrier to Summer Programs for Youth Despite high demand, especially with the pandemic, summer 1221https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning11652GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify s4-wpActive" style="margin-bottom&#58;500px;"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/embed/2FfSODepxdg?enablejsapi=1&amp;origin=http&#58;//admin.wallacefoundation.org" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" data-gtm-yt-inspected-2194631_46="true" id="935418708"></iframe>&#160;</div> <br>Wallace editorial team792021-04-06T04:00:00ZCo-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings, including benefits for kids who attend frequently4/6/2021 2:51:29 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Take a Minute (or Three) for Summer Learning Co-author of latest RAND report on summer learning discusses key findings 855https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs?11622GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61;GP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool<p>N​​onprofits that work with young people are always looking for ways to assess their effectiveness, and randomized controlled trials—which <em>randomly</em> place eligible young people into&#160;“treatment” and “control” groups to draw comparisons between them—are generally considered the most rigorous approach. Implementation studies, by contrast, examine how an effort is carried out, pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in operations. </p><p>In tandem, randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, and implementation studies can help organizations answer two major questions&#58; What is the impact of our work? What can we do to improve?&#160;&#160; </p><p>As informative as such studies can be, they are also challenging to pull off and act on. Just ask Lynsey Wood Jeffries, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, one of the organizations that took part in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>. Higher Achievement, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for more than 1,000 middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore and Richmond, Va., has participated in two RCTs, the most recent one accompanied by an implementation study.</p><p>The first RCT, which was partially funded by Wallace and ran from 2006 to 2013, showed statistically significant effects for Higher Achievement students—known as “scholars” within the program—on math and reading test scores and in high school placement and family engagement. The second, completed last year (also with some Wallace support), found positive results, too, with the implementation study revealing some program delivery issues to be addressed in order for Higher Achievement to reach its full potential. (Readers can find the research and more information <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/impact/">here</a>.) The organization was in the process of making changes when COVID-19 hit and turned everything upside down, but as the pandemic eases, the hope is to use the findings to help pave the path forward. </p><p>This is part two of our interview with Jeffries. See the first post on <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/creating-safe-spaces-for-young-people-during-the-pandemic.aspx">running an afterschool program during a pandemic</a>. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.</p><p> <strong>Why did you decide to participate in the second RCT, especially having already done one? </strong></p><p>There were two main reasons. One is that the first study only focused on what has been our home base in the D.C. metro area. So, it showed statistically significant positive impacts on academics for D.C. and also Alexandria, Virginia. But since that study was conducted, we have expanded to other locations, and our effectiveness hadn't been empirically proven in those places. That was important to understand. A number of programs may be able to show impacts in their home base, but replicating that through all the complications that come with expansion is a next level of efficacy. </p><p>Second, it was suggested to us that the way to be most competitive for the major federal <a href="https&#58;//www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-inaugural-education-innovation-and-research-competition">i3 grant</a> we ultimately won was to offer an RCT. It's the highest level of evidence and worth the most points on the application.</p><p> <strong>Were there risks versus rewards that you had to weigh in making the decision to go ahead with the second RCT?</strong></p><p>We very carefully considered it because we knew from past experience the strains an RCT puts on the community and the organization.</p><p>The reward is that if you win the dollars you can learn a lot and serve more students. Our grant application was about adapting our academic mentoring to help accelerate learning towards Common Core standards. That's something we wouldn’t have been able to do, at least not at the intensity we wanted, without a multi-million-dollar investment.</p><p> <strong>Were there any results of either the RCT or the implementation study that caught you by surprise?</strong></p><p>The positive effect size for report card grades was greater in this second study than it was for test scores in a previous study. And that level of confidence did surprise me frankly, because I’ve lived and breathed Higher Achievement every day for many years now, and it's been messy. It hasn't just been a simple expansion process. There have been lots of questions along the way, adaptations to local communities, staffing changes, and more. So, to see that positive effect size for our scholars was encouraging.</p><p> <strong>You mentioned the strain an RCT can put on community relationships and the organization itself. What does that look like?</strong></p><p>Only accepting 50 percent of the students you recruit strains community relationships; it strains relationships with families and scholars most importantly but also with schools. It also fatigues the staff, who have to interview twice as many students as we can serve. They get to know the students and their families, knowing that we have to turn away half of them.</p><p>Here’s are example of how an RCT can distort perceptions in the community&#58; I'll never forget talking to a middle schooler who had applied for our program but was assigned to the control group. She said, &quot;Oh, yeah, I know Higher Achievement. It's that group that pays you $100 to take a test on a Saturday.&quot; [As part of the first RCT] we did pay students to take this test, and so that’s what we were to her.</p><p>Additionally, when you’re recruiting for an RCT, you have to cast twice as wide a net [because you need a sufficient number of students in both the treatment and control groups]. Because there was such a push for a larger sample, the interview process for Higher Achievement became pro forma, and our retention rate ended up dipping because the overall level of commitment of the scholars and families recruited for the RCT was lower than it would be otherwise. And both studies showed that we don't have statistically significant effects until scholars get through the second year. So, when scholar retention dips, you're distorting the program.</p><p> <strong>Did you approach the second RCT differently in terms of recruitment or communications to try to avoid or address that potential for strain?</strong></p><p>We were very cognizant of our school relationships the second time. Principals really value the service we provide, which makes it quite hard for them to agree to a study, knowing half the students won’t actually get the benefit of that service. So, we gave each of our principals three to five wild cards for particular students they wanted to be exempt from the lottery process in order to make sure that they got into the program. That hurt our sample size because those students couldn’t be part of the study, but it helped preserve the school relationships. We also deepened training for the staff interviewing potential scholars, which helped a bit with retention. </p><p> <strong>How did Higher Achievement go about putting the research findings into practice? In order to make changes at the program level, were there also changes that had to be made at the administrative level? </strong></p><p>The implementation study was really helpful, and I'm so grateful we were able to bring in $300,000 in additional support from Venture Philanthropy Partners [a D.C.-based philanthropy] to support it. One of the things we took away from the implementation study was that there was more heterogeneity in our program delivery than we desired. We knew that internally, but to read it from these external researchers made us pause, consider the implications, and develop a new approach—Higher Achievement 2.0. </p><p>Higher Achievement 2.0 consisted of a refined program model and staffing structure to support it. We shifted our organizational chart pretty dramatically. Previously, program implementation was managed by the local executive directors [with a program director for each city and directors of individual centers within each city reporting to the executive director]. Program research, evaluation and design were under a chief strategy officer, who was not in a direct reporting line with the program implementation. It wasn't seamless, and it led to inconsistencies in program delivery. </p><p>The big change we made was to create a new position, a central chief program officer who manages both the R&amp;D department, which we now call the center support team, and the local program directors, with the center directors reporting to those program directors. What that does functionally is lift the local center directors a full step or two or three, depending on the city, up in the organization chart and in the decision-making process [because they no longer report to a local executive director or deputy director]. Everything we're doing as an organization is much closer to the ground.</p><p> <strong>What were the main changes at the program level as a result of the implementation study?</strong></p><p>One of the key takeaways from the implementation research was that our Summer Academy, which was a six-week, 40-hours-a-week program, was important for culture building but the academic instruction wasn’t consistently high quality or driving scholar retention or academic outcomes. That prompted us to take a very different approach to summer and to make afterschool the centerpiece of what we do. The plan was to focus on college-preparatory high school placement and to expand afterschool by seven weeks and go from three to four days a week. That’s a big change in how we operate, which we were just beginning to actualize in January 2020. Then COVID hit, and we had to pivot to a virtual, streamlined program, but now we’re exploring how to go back to a version of Higher Achievement 2.0 post-COVID.</p><p>High school placement has always been part of Higher Achievement’s model, but we elevated it to be our anchor indicator, so all the other performance indicators need to lead back to high school readiness and placement. While our direct service ends in eighth grade, we have long-term intended impacts of 100 percent on-time high school graduation and 65 percent post-secondary credential attainment. [Therefore], the biggest lever we can pull is helping our scholars choose a great fit for high school and making sure they’re prepared to get into those schools. Instead of running programs in the summer, we are referring scholars to other strong programs and spending much more time on family engagement in the summer to support high school placement. This starts in fifth grade, with increasingly robust conversations year after year about report cards and test scores and what different high school options can mean for career paths and post-secondary goals. We are building our scholars’ and families’ navigational capital. That discipline is being more uniformly implemented across our sites; it had been very scattered in the past. </p><p>The other thing we set out to do, which has been delayed because all our design capacity has been re-routed to virtual learning, is to build out a ninth-grade transition program. We know how important ninth grade is; the research is undeniable. The individual data from our scholars says sometimes it goes smoothly and in other cases it's really rocky. Students who’ve been placed in a competitive high school may shift later because they didn't feel welcome or supported in that school.</p><p> <strong>What challenges have you faced as you’ve gone about making these big changes? Were there any obstacles in translating the decisions of your leadership team into action?</strong></p><p>The biggest obstacle is COVID. We haven't been able to put much of our plan into action in the way intended. The other obstacle we’ve faced is what any change faces&#58; emotional and intellectual ties to the way things have always been done. I was one of the staff members who had a great emotional attachment to our Summer Academy.</p><p>​There are rituals that have been a part of our Summer Academy that are beloved rites of passage for young people. We are building these rites of passage, college trips and other culture-building aspects of Summer Academy into our Afterschool Academy. That way, we can focus in the summer on intentionally engaging our scholars and families to prepare them for college-preparatory high schools and increase our overall organizational sustainability and effectiveness.</p><p> <strong>What advice would you give to an organization that’s considering participating in an RCT and implementation study or other major research of this kind?</strong></p><p>Proceed with caution. Before undertaking an RCT, review the studies that already exist in the field and learn from those to increase the effectiveness of your program. Let’s not reinvent the wheel here. If you do decide to proceed with an RCT, be really clear on what your model is and is not. And then be prepared to add temporary capacity during the study, particularly for recruitment, program observation and support. It takes a lot of internal and external communication to preserve relationships while also having a valid RCT. </p><p>There's a larger field question about equity—who is able to raise the money to actually conduct these very extensive and expensive studies? It tends to be white-led organizations and philanthropic dollars tend to consolidate to support those proven programs. Too few nonprofits have been proven effective with RCTs—for a host of reasons, including that these studies are cost-prohibitive for most organizations and that they strain community relations. And most RCT-proven models are difficult and expensive to scale.</p><p>However, just because an organization has not been proven effective with an RCT should not mean that it is prohibited from attracting game-changing investment.&#160; If there were a more rigorous way for organizations to truly demonstrate being evidenced-based (not just a well-written and research-cited proposal paragraph), perhaps there would be a way to bring more community-based solutions to scale.&#160;With that approach, we could begin to solve challenges at the magnitude that they exist.<br></p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-31T04:00:00ZAn afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of intensive program evaluations4/5/2021 8:18:58 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Can Research Help Design More Effective Youth Programs An afterschool program CEO reflects on the risks and rewards of 551https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic10599GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61<p>T​​he best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, according to the poet Robert Burns. For a nonprofit organization serving young people in the midst of a pandemic that has forced them to stay at home and take on a raft of additional worries and responsibilities, the best-laid plans don’t so much go awry as get adapted on the fly. At the beginning of 2020, Washington, D.C.-based <a href="https&#58;//higherachievement.org/">Higher Achievement</a>, which provides academically focused afterschool programs for middle schoolers in the D.C. metro area, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va., was all set to promote the impressive results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) it had recently wrapped up as well as roll out new programming to better serve its students. </p>​ <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Creating-Safe-Spaces-for-Young-People-During-the-Pandemic/LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" alt="LynseyWoodJeffries.jpg" class="wf-Image-Left" style="margin&#58;5px;color&#58;#555555;font-size&#58;14px;width&#58;174px;height&#58;174px;" />Then, COVID-19, along with an overdue racial reckoning and a wildly contentious presidential election, flipped the script. Through it all, Higher Achievement, a participant in Wallace’s now-concluded <a href="/knowledge-center/after-school/pages/expanded-learning.aspx">expanded learning effort</a>, has continued serving its students, known as “scholars” within the program. The intent is to respond, CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries says, “with both urgency and gentleness.” <div> <br>​In this interview, the first of a two-part blog post, Jeffries discusses what it’s been like for one youth-serving nonprofit to face the great unknown—a topic on the minds of many this month as we mark the first anniversary of the declaration, by the World Health Organization, that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic. The interview has been edited for length and clarity. In part two, scheduled to be published later this month, Jeffries talks about the challenges that can come along with the benefits of research, the steps Higher Achievement took to put the research into practice, and considerations for other nonprofits contemplating an RCT.&#160;<br></div><p> <strong> <br>Has the pandemic caused you to view the role that Higher Achievement plays in a different way? </strong></p><p>The pandemic has forced us to prioritize what matters most. This pandemic has devastated traditionally marginalized communities and exacerbated health disparities and economic instability. Too many of our scholars are shouldering additional burdens, whether it’s worry about the health of family members or responsibility for childcare for their younger siblings because their family members are essential workers. </p><p>With these realities at home, and Zoom fatigue from virtual school, we had to radically adapt our high-dosage afterschool program to focus on where we could be most effective in this context of trauma, extra responsibility, learning loss and isolation. </p><p> <strong>You had these really positive RCT results to share right when the pandemic hit. Did that change the way you went about communicating the results of the research?</strong></p><p>We had plans to highlight the results of the study with our funders and our school partners in 2020, but those plans got overtaken by events. The study was published three weeks after George Floyd was murdered. We weren’t going to do a virtual roadshow on our study when it felt irrelevant. That was what was in the hearts of our staff. </p><p>Now the conversation is beginning to move towards what we can do to recover what's been over 12 months of learning loss, according to McKinsey's estimates, for kids who've been in virtual learning. As school districts and funders are considering “high-dosage” tutoring as one of the solutions, the RCT is elevating Higher Achievement’s position as a potential part of that solution. When we think about the results, particularly the positive effect on Black boys’ math scores, we’re asking how does this encourage us to be bolder in this racial reckoning work, in the achievement gap work?</p><p> <strong>How exactly has the pandemic affected the services that Higher Achievement provides?</strong></p><p>We’ve narrowed our program down to three things for now. The newest is virtual math tutoring pods, in which small groups of scholars review and practice what they’re learning in school. Second is mentoring, including high school placement mentoring. Third is community meetings. All those happen throughout the week. The virtual math pods are the biggest play we made. We realized our scholars were really slipping in math, and families are largely unprepared for that. Our school partners and school teachers have also asked us to support math instruction in these small groups. Scholars have wanted to be able to ask questions and have that person over their shoulder to help work through these concepts. We’ve had to re-skill our staff to be able to deliver. We did four rounds of pilots from March until August, then we rolled out a full program in September based on those pilots. With math, first semester grades are seven percent higher in December 2020 than in December 2019, pre-pandemic. </p><p>Math instruction by our volunteer mentors did not work well in the pilots of spring 2020, so we switched approaches in September, and the math pods are now led by our paid staff members.&#160; Humanities mentoring is working, however, and serves as a critical vehicle for tackling relevant social justice topics. We build on the curriculum and materials of a group called <a href="https&#58;//youthcomm.org/">Youth Communication</a>. They produce a youth-written online magazine about relevant topics from identity to the presidential election to activist movements to relationships, and it builds in reading, writing and critical thinking skills. Mentoring is consistently the most popular element of our program, with scholars and mentors so eager to deepen their relationships, combat isolation and dive into social justice together. </p><p>The high school placement mentoring looks radically different this year. Even though many of our eighth graders have not learned eighth grade content in school, we expect most of them will be ninth graders next year. And we want to make sure we’re supporting them in the transition. Family engagement throughout this year, starting with one-on-one outreach the week after COVID closed schools, has been critical to our high school placement efforts. </p><p>Community meetings have been a wonderful time for scholars, staff and mentors to all come together to process current events. There have been a lot of conversations about the election and now about figuring out how to support our communities through the recent assaults on democracy.</p><p> <strong>Do you anticipate any of the changes you’ve made because of the pandemic becoming permanent?</strong></p><p>We will see. We are conducting a strategic review in late March to develop our COVID recovery plan for the next two school years. We expect to continue our math pods in some form, but convert them to in-person settings, and possibly during the school day. We are also involved in advisory efforts to design and scale tutoring efforts in our cities.</p><p> <strong>Any advice for organizations struggling to adapt to the pandemic? A lot of time has passed, but we still unfortunately don't exactly know where we're at in terms of recovery.</strong></p><p>Do not try to do it all. Focus on your towering strengths to meet the extreme urgency of this moment. And then balance that with care for self and team. Try to act with both urgency and gentleness. The stake are high, and humans are fragile. </p><p>These turbulent times are hard, but also potentially transformative. Don’t lose sight of the hope. &#160;</p>Wallace editorial team792021-03-18T04:00:00ZHow one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness’ for middle schoolers in these difficult times4/5/2021 8:20:55 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Creating Safe Spaces for Young People During the Pandemic How one afterschool program is balancing ‘urgency and gentleness 933https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled24117GP0|#ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13;L0|#0ff9563e3-b973-45a7-8ac3-c9f4122f9a13|Summer Learning;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61 <p>​Every year, millions of kids—and, let’s face it, many adults too—look forward to the start of summer. But Summer 2020 is shaping up to be like no other. With summer vacations canceled, camps on hold and schools unsure about whether and how they will reopen, we’re facing a new set of questions, challenges and opportunities. </p><p>As we kick off Summer Learning Week, we had the chance to connect via email with Aaron Dworkin, CEO of the <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/">National Summer Learning Association</a> (NSLA), a nonprofit organization that has been solely focused on harnessing summer as a time of learning, to see how they are approaching this unprecedented summer. For more in depth information about NSLA and summer learning, <a href="/News-and-Media/Blog/pages/summer-from-the-wild-west-to-a-center-of-success.aspx">see our interview with Dworkin</a> when he came onboard with the organization last year. </p><p><strong>Let’s start with the big question&#58; How will summer be different this year?</strong></p><p>The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen the already existing opportunity gap between children from rich and poor families. It has illuminated the nation’s inequities in our school systems and communities like never before, shining a spotlight on the significant digital divide, food insecurities, childcare issues and learning losses millions of underserved students and their families face every summer. And the combination of COVID-19-related learning loss combined with the usual summer slide may have a ripple effect for years to come. Nonprofit organization NWEA, which specializes in student assessments, predicts significant learning loss from COVID school closures, especially in math. Their findings project that “students may return in fall 2020 with roughly 70 percent of the learning gains in reading relative to a typical school year, less than 50 percent of the learning gains in math, and in some grades, nearly a full year behind what we would observe in normal conditions.”</p><p>This means that summer learning programming will be more important than ever in 2020. Across the country, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports, exploring safe ways to reopen, developing virtual and at-home learning experiences that families can do together and securing funding and policy support to expand summer meal programs in communities experiencing an increase in food insecurity due to job losses and school closures.</p><p>Parents, educators, summer learning advocates, business leaders and policymakers each play a critical role to save and expand summer learning opportunities in communities across the country this summer.</p><p><strong>How might families think about summer during this pandemic?</strong><strong> </strong> </p><p>Families are learning how to be hyper-creative when thinking about this summer. They’re thinking about ways to take advantage of available resources in a safe way. While community libraries and museums may be closed to in-person visits, you can explore their summer library programs or museum tours virtually with your children from the comfort of home. Many library and museum websites across the country and around the world have information posted about free virtual learning opportunities. </p><p>Parents can also access other online resources, such as the new <a href="https&#58;//bealearninghero.org/summer-stride/quick-tips-resources/">Summer Stride</a> resource from Learning Heroes, which includes ways to help your child with math and reading at home this summer.</p><p><strong>It seems parents, guardians and others have a bigger role in summer learning this year, in addition to summer programs. In general, why are summer learning programs important?</strong></p><p>Research shows that high-quality summer programs can make a difference in stemming learning loss and closing the country’s educational and opportunity gaps, particularly for our most vulnerable students. Elementary school students with high attendance in summer learning programs boost their math and reading skills. These skills, along with social and emotional learning, help children not only in school but also in their careers and life.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>What is most important for policymakers to know about summer learning programs, especially this year?</strong></p><p>On the federal level, funding is critical. These dollars serve to launch new programs and allow existing programs to serve more students and improve quality. Recent studies have shown that 88 percent of teachers say summer learning programs are important to students’ success and 85 percent of families support public investment in summer programs. </p><p>The House and Senate continue to show strong support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Title IV Part A, and other key funding that supports summer programs in budget allocations. </p><p>On the state level, it is crucial for policymakers to allocate federal funding received toward more quality summer and afterschool opportunities, as well as increase regular state education funding to include financial support for summer and afterschool programs. We are also encouraging local leaders to take advantage of the specific allowable use of funds for summer learning cited in the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/unpacking-the-federal-response-to-covid-19-in-education.aspx">CARES ACT</a> [the federal relief act in response to COVID-19]&#160;and to continue to promote additional local funding for summer learning. State policymakers could support summer learning and close the opportunity gap for children in their state by adding or refining language about summer learning and afterschool learning in their state school finance formulas and in statues, describe key components of successful opportunities as principles for which the funding should be spent. </p><p><strong>Given the current context, is NSLA doing anything different for Summer Learning Week this year?</strong></p><p>Summer may look different this year, but it isn’t canceled. Even if we can’t all be together, summer programs are adapting and innovating to ensure children and their families can access quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. </p><p>To that end, we are offering&#160;numerous new resources and launching our national Keep All Kids Healthy and Learning billboard advertising campaign. In addition, with the move to many more virtual programs and events during this pandemic, NSLA is celebrating the week with <a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/theme-days-and-resources/">different theme days</a> and by lifting up inspiring program examples and resources with national webinars each day co-hosted with innovative summer learning partners and leaders. </p><p><em>To find out more about NSLA’s daily webinars and other&#160;resources for Summer Learning Week, visit the organization’s </em><a href="https&#58;//www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week/"><em>website</em></a><em>.</em></p> Wallace editorial team792020-07-08T04:00:00ZThis Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of Opportunities Still Available to Kids Across America7/8/2020 4:27:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Though it May Look Different, Summer Is Not Canceled This Year’s National Summer Learning Week Celebrates a Wide Variety of 773https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

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