"No matter what schools do during the school year, no matter how long the school day or how great the after school programs, if students do not have meaningful summer learning opportunities, they are likely to lose a significant amount of what they have learned." —Summer Learning: Accelerating Student Success
The report by the National Association of State Boards of Education, Summer Learning: Accelerating Student Success, confirms that summer learning can be both academically enriching and engaging. High-quality summer learning programs are creating a new vision for summer school.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) developed nine principles for their New Vision for Summer School initiative, which uphold the NSLA’s mission of providing comprehensive summer programming that moves beyond the view of summer school as remedial and punitive.
- Increase the duration, intensity and scope of summer school to a comprehensive six-week, full-day model.
- Expand participation from only those students struggling academically to all students in school-wide Title 1 programs.
- Change the focus from narrow remediation and test preparation to a blended-learning approach with both core subject areas and enrichment.
- Strengthen and expand partnerships with community organizations and public agencies that provide summer activities.
- Improve student attendance and engagement by providing healthy food, field trips, recreation and comprehensive support services.
- Provide innovative professional development for educators, and ensure summer learning programs offer teachers an opportunity to test new models and gain new skills.
- Include innovative approaches for older students, such as internships, college visits and career-readiness opportunities.
- Target the key transition periods of kindergarten and middle and high school to ensure students are prepared for success.
- Move summers to the center of school-reform strategies through sustainable and stable funding and long-term planning.
Since 2009, districts have invested more than $200 million in summer learning programs to embrace these principles of summer-school reform. The 31 school districts that comprise NSLA’s New Vision for Summer School Network exchange ideas with peers across the nation; share best practices; and have access to the latest tools, resources and policy developments. These districts meet regularly to discuss ways to develop evaluations, staffing, curriculum, technology and building effective partnerships.