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Celebrate Summer Learning Day and Check Out Our New Summer Research!

By Chris D'Agostino

As June presses on, temperatures are rising, kids are enjoying their freedom from school and air conditioners are being set to full blast. It can only mean one thing: summer is here.

One thing that shouldn’t be associated with the summer months though is a break from learning for children, and summer learning programs across the country are helping to fill the gap in education many students experience while school is out in the summer months. So as we all prepare for the summer dog days, it is important to remember to celebrate these programs and all of the great work they do for children and families. The Afterschool Alliance urges everyone to celebrate Summer Learning Day today, June 21. Hopefully, programs have scheduled fun events to promote their summer learning activities today, but if not, supporters are encouraged to schedule an event at a time that strategically supports their work, whether that time is during this week or afterwards. Summer learning programs do so much to promote student learning and development, so take some time today to support your local programs and let parents, local businesses and legislators know how important these programs are to your community.

In support of Summer Learning Day, the Afterschool Alliance is releasing new data on summer learning programs today. A new report entitled “Uncertain Times 2012: The State of Summer Learning Programs” conveys how the past year’s difficult economic climate has affected summer learning programs, providing a snapshot of attendance, availability and demand for summer learning programs throughout the country. Key findings from the study include:

  • More than 6 in 10 summer programs reported operating at or over maximum capacity in 2011.
  • 54 percent of summer programs expect enrollment in 2012 to be higher or much higher than enrollment in 2011.
  • 17 percent of afterschool programs reported reducing or eliminating their summer programs due to a decrease or stagnation of funds.
  • More than one-third of programs reported having a waiting list.

For more information on this study, you can find the full factsheet here, and don’t forget to register your summer learning program for Summer Learning Day!

On a side note, this year the summer also signifies the end of my time with the Afterschool Alliance and thusly my last blog as I am off to law school in August. It has been an amazing experience working to support afterschool and summer learning programs across the country, and I will always think fondly on my time working with the Afterschool Alliance. In my future work, I will continue to be an ardent advocate for the wonderful youth development programs I have worked with throughout my three years as Research Associate. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blogs!

Ed. note: Thank you, Chris, for all of your great work! You will be missed!