New report: Making summer learning a district-wide priority

READ FULL STORY

New report: Making summer learning a district-wide priority

Summer learning programs across the country are providing students with valuable opportunities to learn. However, for students from low-income families, quality learning opportunities can be sparse, and students from low-income communities lose more ground academically over their summer than their more affluent peers. Supporting summer learning, and making these programs a priority for school districts, can make a difference for these students year-round. Taking support for these programs to a district level and prioritizing summer learning can help ensure program quality, sustainability, and increase community buy-in.  

In an effort to support summer learning programs, The Wallace Foundation launched the National Summer Learning Project (NSLP) across five school districts nationwide in 2011. Evaluating the NSLP programs, RAND has explored outcomes for students participating in summer learning programs. Digging deeper, Making Summer Last: Integrating Summer Programming into Core District Priorities and Operations, a new report from The Wallace Foundation and RAND, explores how three of the school districts participating in NSLP integrated summer learning into their district priorities. The report evaluates interviews with district staff members and summer leadership staff involved in summer programming and highlights their recommendations for making summer a district-wide priority. Here are the report’s three main takeaways, including challenges, to integrate and prioritize summer learning programs into your school district:

Build awareness of summer learning programming and connect programming to district goals

When creating quality summer learning programs for students, it is important to get district-wide support from teachers, district-level staff, and summer instructors.

Exposing all parties to the summer learning program via site visits or videos of the program increased buy-in and helped express the need for and impact of the summer learning programming. Programs also found it important to connect the summer programming to district goals and desired academic outcomes, showing that priorities for the school year and the summer were consistent and that summer learning programming could help accomplish district-wide goals.  
Summer leaders, overall, did find it challenging to generate support and buy-in for their programs, especially when summer learning programs were not required by the district. Despite the overall challenge, building awareness of the summer learning programming helped garner support from district staff and in some cases led to increased funding opportunities—especially once superintendents were onboard.  

Establish cross-departmental planning

Programs found that a key aspect of creating quality summer learning programming included cross-developmental planning and support. Creating a planning group where representatives from all departments with a hand in summer learning met frequently, starting at the beginning of the school-year, reinforced the importance of summer learning across the district and helped with summer learning implementation. Program leaders found that it was important to make expectations and responsibilities across departments clear, and to include only essential department representatives to minimize confusion and maintain clarity regarding individuals’ roles.  

Leverage expertise of district-level staff

Program leaders found that a key part of integrating summer learning programming into district goals was collaborating and communicating with a wide array of district-level departments; such as development, finance, and communications. Creating relationships between these departments and summer learning staff was crucial for progress toward future program sustainability.  

For some districts, introducing new tasks related to summer learning stretched staff capacity, and district staff were not always able to meet the deadlines of the summer learning programs. However, incentivizing the additional work and maintaining communication surrounding summer and district staff capacity reduced the effects of these challenges. While some summer staff were able to tap into district staff capacity, the overall recommendation from the report was to utilize district staff knowledge and experience to inform the work of summer staff, not to redistribute tasks to the district-level staff. 
 
 
Quality summer learning programs have a multitude of short-term benefits for the students that participate, but they also can help support the long-term learning that takes place throughout the school year. Integrating summer learning as a priority within the school district can amplify these benefits. For programs looking to start, expand, or restructure their summer learning efforts, incorporating the recommendations from Making Summer Last can be a good place to start, and can ultimately lead to a higher-quality and more sustainable program.

Read the full report online, and keep an eye out for two more upcoming reports from The Wallace Foundation on summer learning policy and sustainability. 

Experts weigh in on the value of afterschool

Last month, we saw afterschool programs across the country open their doors to host Lights On Afterschool events, providing a firsthand look at the broad array of fun, enriching, and engaging activities students take part in at the program and the vital role programs play in their community. A...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/27/17

Looking for evidence on the impact of afterschool?

Look no further! Adding to the research conversation discussing the value of afterschool and summer learning programs, the Afterschool Alliance has released two new fact sheets that provide a sampling of evaluation findings demonstrating the positive impact programs have on students, with subjects...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/09/17

Evaluating afterschool: What my toddler taught me about evaluation

By Allison Riley, PhD, MSW, Senior Vice President, Programming and Evaluation at Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that...

BY: Guest Blogger      09/08/17

New poll finds 9 in 10 parents support schools providing afterschool programs

Last night, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) released the 2017 Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of Public's Attitudes Towards Public Schools. The overall takeaway from this report, which is PDK’s 49th annual report on Americans’ views toward public...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/29/17

Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher, part II

Welcome to part II of our Q&A with Neil Naftzger, American Institutes for Research (AIR), about his evaluation work related to 21st CCLC programs specifically and the afterschool field broadly. Below are answers to oneof the questions we asked, with our emphasis added in bold, which...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/18/17

Guest blog: Q&A with an afterschool researcher

In May, the proposed FY2018 budget eliminated funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), the only federal funding stream dedicated to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. In the budget, a justification given for the elimination of funding was that...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/28/17

Evaluating afterschool: Building an evaluation advisory board

By Jason Spector, Senior Research & Evaluation Manager at After-School All-Stars The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the sixth installment of our "Evaluating afterschool" blog series, which answers some of the common questions asked about program evaluation and...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/05/17

Evaluating afterschool: Answering questions about quality

By Jocelyn Michelsen, Senior Research Associate at Public Profit, an Oakland, California-based evaluation consultancy focused on helping high-performing organizations do their best, data-driven work with children, youth, and families. The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the fifth...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      06/06/17

What you need to know about the GAO's afterschool report

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on 21st Century Community Learning Centers on April 26 highlighting the benefits of afterschool participation and calling on the U.S. Department of Education to update their performance measures and data collection. The report...

BY: Jen Rinehart      04/28/17

New report: Participation in summer learning programs yields positive outcomes

A new report shows that high levels of participation in summer learning programs can provide positive benefits for low-income students’ math and language arts performance and social-emotional skills. Last week, The Wallace Foundation released Learning from Summer:...

BY: Erin Murphy      09/15/16

"Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool" highlights promising practices for all ages

The next generation of the American workforce is growing up right now and afterschool programs are vital partners in helping young people discover new passions and work towards their dreams. As in so many other subjects, the variety and versatility of afterschool programming offers opportunities...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/14/17

How does afterschool contribute to military readiness?

In 2016, the Council for a Strong America released America Unprepared, showing data that more than 70 percent of young adults in the United States would not qualify for military service due to obesity and other health issues, poor academic performance, drug abuse, or involvement in crime. As a...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/14/17

5 ways afterschool prepares kids to succeed in the workplace

Cultivating tomorrow’s workforce remains a central part of the discussion about America’s economic future. As today’s children begin to develop the skills they will need in the workplace, experts in the education and afterschool fields are turning their attention to the ways that...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      05/04/17

What is "The State of Girls" in 2017?

Since the Great Recession, the United States has experienced many demographic, social, economic, and technological changes. A new report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, "The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends," tracks resulting trends in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/17/17

When talking about social and emotional learning, what language works best?

We all know that high quality afterschool and summer learning programs provide kids with the skills that they need to succeed in school and life. While the concept sounds simple, finding the best way to describe these skills and their development is anything but. Some people use phrases such...

BY: Dan Gilbert      01/05/17

New report explores gap between school hours and work schedules

The misalignment between parents’ working hours and kids’ school hours is widely recognized by the afterschool community and working parents everywhere. Years of public polling have highlighted that this issue is top-of-mind with parents and voters. That’s why advocates...

BY: Jen Rinehart      10/25/16

New report: Participation in summer learning programs yields positive outcomes

A new report shows that high levels of participation in summer learning programs can provide positive benefits for low-income students’ math and language arts performance and social-emotional skills. Last week, The Wallace Foundation released Learning from Summer:...

BY: Erin Murphy      09/15/16

5 statistics that inspire optimism in the future of America's youth

A new study has found that “Generation Z,” or the cohort of youth born after 1995 that follows millennials, are healthier and have higher rates of high school completion, despite significant challenges posed by the economy and education costs. The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data...

BY: Robert Abare      07/05/16

New civil rights data reveal nearly 1 in 5 high schoolers are chronically absent

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released “A First Look” from the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which shows that students of color, students whose first language is not English and students with disabilities are...

BY: Jen Rinehart      06/09/16

The spring edition of the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities is here!

The third edition of the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO) has arrived! This spring issue features a conversation about quality programming in afterschool, an article on the role that social emotional learning can play to close the achievement and learning gaps, and an article...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      06/03/16

Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academics

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and funding, identifies what...

BY: Erin Murphy      10/13/16

New report: Participation in summer learning programs yields positive outcomes

A new report shows that high levels of participation in summer learning programs can provide positive benefits for low-income students’ math and language arts performance and social-emotional skills. Last week, The Wallace Foundation released Learning from Summer:...

BY: Erin Murphy      09/15/16

New video makes the case for data sharing partnerships

If you have ever wondered what a successful data sharing partnership looks like, or wished that there was a resource available to help you make the case for data partnerships in afterschool, look no further. A new video released by the National League of Cities—in partnership with the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/23/16

How afterschool systems can connect the dots between data and best practices

Having witnessed the benefits that afterschool programs provide students, parents and communities, many U.S. cities are building afterschool systems to link and sustain high-quality afterschool programs and boost access for those in need. But to ensure afterschool...

BY: Robert Abare      06/08/16

Policy priorities to make data work for students

Student data is a valuable resource for afterschool programs. It helps inform program providers about their students’ needs, the programming that will best support their students and the program’s impact on students’ progress. As important of a role that data play for afterschool...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      06/02/16

Can the U.S. reach 90 percent high school graduation by 2020?

High school graduation rates have continued to grow over the last decade, reaching a record high of 82.3 percent. This graduation rate is 10 percent higher than at the turn of the century; however, over the last year the rate of increase has begun to slow. If the graduation rate continues...

BY: Erin Murphy      05/13/16

Webinar recap: Afterschool in rural communities

Afterschool programs are an integral partner for rural communities: keeping kids safe, inspiring learning and supporting working families. The Afterschool Alliance recently explored the current state of afterschool in rural communities in our America After 3PM special...

BY: Erin Murphy      05/04/16

New report underscores the high cost of child care

Affordable and accessible high-quality child care is a critical issue for working families across the U.S. Although the benefits of quality child care for both children and their parents are numerous, many families struggle to afford and find child care that meets their needs. The 10th edition of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      12/21/16

New report explores gap between school hours and work schedules

The misalignment between parents’ working hours and kids’ school hours is widely recognized by the afterschool community and working parents everywhere. Years of public polling have highlighted that this issue is top-of-mind with parents and voters. That’s why advocates...

BY: Jen Rinehart      10/25/16

Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academics

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and funding, identifies what...

BY: Erin Murphy      10/13/16

Updated interactive dashboard with data on high-poverty communities

Following the release of our latest America After 3PM report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, which looks at the role of afterschool programs in areas where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line, our interactive web dashboard has been...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/26/16

New report reveals how afterschool aids communities of concentrated poverty

Where you live has direct and indirect impacts on the fundamental resources and opportunities you count on, and which many people may take for granted. Your location affects the quality of schools available to you, your access to healthy and affordable food, and your overall wellbeing and future...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/30/16

5 statistics that inspire optimism in the future of America's youth

A new study has found that “Generation Z,” or the cohort of youth born after 1995 that follows millennials, are healthier and have higher rates of high school completion, despite significant challenges posed by the economy and education costs. The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data...

BY: Robert Abare      07/05/16

Creating high-quality arts programs in national youth-serving organizations

While research has shown that participation in the arts promotes positive youth outcomes, providing quality arts programming can seem like an unobtainable goal to many programs, especially those that mix various art disciplines into daily programming but do not have an arts focus. But a new report...

BY: Leah Silverberg      10/27/17

New report from the Wallace Foundation: Strategies to scale up

The question of how to scale up—taking a successful program, project, or policy and growing it to expand its reach and therefore its impact—has been an important one when thinking about systems change. It is a key component in efforts to make sustainable, positive social gains; a...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      10/06/17

New resources for STEM in afterschool from the Research + Practice Collaboratory

Check it out: the Research + Practice Collaboratory has some new and updated resources for the afterschool field! If you are not familiar, the Research + Practice Collaboratory works to bridge the gap between education research and STEM education implementation. The Collaboratory’s goal is to...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/10/17

New report explores gap between school hours and work schedules

The misalignment between parents’ working hours and kids’ school hours is widely recognized by the afterschool community and working parents everywhere. Years of public polling have highlighted that this issue is top-of-mind with parents and voters. That’s why advocates...

BY: Jen Rinehart      10/25/16

How afterschool systems can connect the dots between data and best practices

Having witnessed the benefits that afterschool programs provide students, parents and communities, many U.S. cities are building afterschool systems to link and sustain high-quality afterschool programs and boost access for those in need. But to ensure afterschool...

BY: Robert Abare      06/08/16

How does afterschool contribute to military readiness?

In 2016, the Council for a Strong America released America Unprepared, showing data that more than 70 percent of young adults in the United States would not qualify for military service due to obesity and other health issues, poor academic performance, drug abuse, or involvement in crime. As a...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/14/17

New resources for STEM in afterschool from the Research + Practice Collaboratory

Check it out: the Research + Practice Collaboratory has some new and updated resources for the afterschool field! If you are not familiar, the Research + Practice Collaboratory works to bridge the gap between education research and STEM education implementation. The Collaboratory’s goal is to...

BY: Leah Silverberg      07/10/17

Poll: In public education, Americans want more than academics

Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) recently released the results of their 48th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. This report, Why school? Americans speak out on education goals, standards, priorities and funding, identifies what...

BY: Erin Murphy      10/13/16

5 statistics that inspire optimism in the future of America's youth

A new study has found that “Generation Z,” or the cohort of youth born after 1995 that follows millennials, are healthier and have higher rates of high school completion, despite significant challenges posed by the economy and education costs. The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data...

BY: Robert Abare      07/05/16

School's Out New York City afterschool program fosters success in middle schoolers

A new evaluation of School’s Out New York City (SONYC), supported by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), finds that the initiative offers New York City middle schoolers a pathway to success through high-quality afterschool programming. Their...

BY: Erin Murphy      05/06/16

Updated interactive dashboard with data on high-poverty communities

Following the release of our latest America After 3PM report, Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty, which looks at the role of afterschool programs in areas where there is a high concentration of families living below the poverty line, our interactive web dashboard has been...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/26/16

New report reveals how afterschool aids communities of concentrated poverty

Where you live has direct and indirect impacts on the fundamental resources and opportunities you count on, and which many people may take for granted. Your location affects the quality of schools available to you, your access to healthy and affordable food, and your overall wellbeing and future...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/30/16

New civil rights data reveal nearly 1 in 5 high schoolers are chronically absent

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released “A First Look” from the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), which shows that students of color, students whose first language is not English and students with disabilities are...

BY: Jen Rinehart      06/09/16

Webinar recap: Afterschool in rural communities

Afterschool programs are an integral partner for rural communities: keeping kids safe, inspiring learning and supporting working families. The Afterschool Alliance recently explored the current state of afterschool in rural communities in our America After 3PM special...

BY: Erin Murphy      05/04/16