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The Impact of Summer: New report offers evidence of the short- and long-term value of investments in summer learning programs

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The Impact of Summer: New report offers evidence of the short- and long-term value of investments in summer learning programs

As many in the out-of-school-time field know, the summer months have the potential to widen existing learning inequities contributing to the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers, or serve as a valuable space to combat this exacerbation and not only prevent learning loss, but also create valuable learning opportunities. This space is more important than ever before, with the exacerbation of these inequities resulting from the pandemic. A new report, Every Summer Counts: A Longitudinal Analysis of Outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project, funded by The Wallace Foundation, details the results of the largest and longest study on summer learning programs that provides evidence for both the long-term and short-term benefits of summer programs on students who had consistent access to high-quality programming.

Conducted by the RAND Corporation, the study began with the start of the National Summer Learning Project in 2011, which followed a group of nearly 6,000 3rd grade students in five urban school districts—Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Rochester, New York—through to the end of 7th grade. These student were given the opportunity to attend voluntary, five- to six-week summer programming prior to 4th and 5th grades, at no cost to families and with transportation and meals provided. The programming was facilitated by local OST intermediaries and community partners and the study documented the impact of attending summer learning programs on both academic and social and emotional outcomes.

The report details that those students whoattended the program regularly (those who attended 20 or more days of the program, what the researchers called “high attenders”) saw increased academic performance on math evaluations in the fall and spring following their first summers in the program, compared to the control group of their peers who did not have access to these programs. After the second summer of programming, high attenders increased their performance in math, language arts, and social and emotional competencies on evaluations into the spring of the following school year. Building off of previous reports released throughout the duration of this study, this report also follows the students for three years after the summer programming before 5th grade—while the magnitude of academic benefits decreased over these years and were not statistically significant, there were still documented benefits for the high attending students that were educationally meaningful. Overall the report concluded that high-quality summer programming can produce meaningful benefits for students, especially for students are able to attend regularly and for consecutive summers.

Based on these conclusions, the report offered several implications for policy and implementation:

  1. School districts should consider offering voluntary summer learning programs to improve academic and social and emotional learning outcomes, especially for students from low-income families and with low academic performance. Where possible, this programming should be offered for consecutive summers, to yield the greatest outcomes for students.
  2. These programs should last for at least five weeks, with at least three hours per day of academic instruction, plus a mix of enrichment activities that keep students engaged and regularly attending, to maximize the short-term and long-term benefits of programming.
  3. Programs should prioritize student attendance and offering high-quality programming, as the impact of summer learning programs on positive student outcomes was directly correlated with the level of quality instruction and execution of the program.

Especially as we think about ways to provide support to students experiencing the greatest impacts of the pandemic on their academic and social development, summers will be a valuable tool to increase academic gains and offer social and emotional supports to help students thrive. The research is clear that students must attend regularly to benefit and that a mix of academics and enrichment are necessary to keep young people engaged and attending so that they can make valuable learning gains. To learn more about the positive impact of investments in high-quality summer learning programs, read the full report.

Valley Heights Community Education: Helping their rural community through the pandemic

This blog post is adapted from a program spotlight in "How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19," a June 2020 issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance. Started in the mid-1990s as a response to more households having both parents working outside the...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

New resources from NRPA: How parks and recreation has responded to the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, parks and recreation agencies have been essential partners in supporting community wellbeing and reopening efforts. According to a survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than 190 million U.S. residents visited a park, trail, or other...

BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

Last month, the Afterschool Alliance released a blog digging into regional differences from the COVID-19 program provider survey results. Here, we will explore a few more notable differences, specifically in regards to programs’ summer plans and what the future holds.  This...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Help us tell the story of afterschool AND win a chance at a cash prize

We need your help to keep the drumbeat going on the ways in which COVID-19 is impacting afterschool and summer programs and the young people and families who rely on them. By completing this short survey, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes of your time, you are helping to tell your...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/20/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

For the past four months, I have heard stories from the field about the hardships afterschool program staff are seeing in their community and the creative ways they have adapted their programming to support the children and families they serve. From adjusting operations to serve children of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

During a media briefing last week, “The School Reopening Dilemma: New Survey Sheds Light on the Role Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Play in Educating Students and Supporting Families This Fall,” it was revealed that 70 percent of afterschool program providers reported serving students...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

Atlanta After 3PM: Parents want more afterschool support

In Atlanta, GA, a high number of families want to enroll their children in afterschool programs – but barriers such as cost stand in the way, pointing to a lack of affordable afterschool options. For every child in an afterschool program in Atlanta, two more are waiting to get in. These...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

Last month, the Afterschool Alliance released a blog digging into regional differences from the COVID-19 program provider survey results. Here, we will explore a few more notable differences, specifically in regards to programs’ summer plans and what the future holds.  This...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Data on child well-being: How does the nation measure up?

Understanding how our youth are faring is an important aspect of not only reinforcing, but also strengthening the supports that afterschool provides. Two separate reports released this summer delved into the state of child well-being across the country, measuring our nation’s progress over...

BY: Rina Moss      09/03/19

To elevate equity, diversity, and inclusion, go deeper into your quality standards

By Femi Vance, researcher at American Institutes for Research, Board President for the California School-Age Consortium, Field Consultant for the National Summer Learning Association, and editor of Changemakers! Equity and Access in Out-of-School Time Programs. Implementing high-quality...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/23/19

America After 3PM: Middle School Youth

The 2020 edition of the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM report – which includes survey response data from more than 10,000 U.S. families of middle school students – reveals that while parents of middle school students recognize the many benefits of afterschool programs,...

BY: Chandler Hall      02/03/21

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

The Afterschool Alliance’s fourth edition of America After 3PM—which provides a detailed accounting of the circumstances and conditions of U.S. children during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and compares afterschool program participation and unmet demand statistics for 2020 with results from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

A how-to guide for navigating the America After 3PM dashboard: Part 1

While recent reports, fact sheets, and infographics detail key findings from the America After 3PM household survey of more than 31,000 parents of school-aged children, the America After 3PM dashboard was created to provide broader access to the survey’s rich data set, which includes...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/12/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

Atlanta After 3PM: Parents want more afterschool support

In Atlanta, GA, a high number of families want to enroll their children in afterschool programs – but barriers such as cost stand in the way, pointing to a lack of affordable afterschool options. For every child in an afterschool program in Atlanta, two more are waiting to get in. These...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

While collaboration between youth-serving organizations continues, gaps in service still exist

In a Forum for Youth Investment webinar, Shaping Summertime Experiences: Aligning Practice to Recommendations Recap and Resources, panelists Dr. Deborah Moroney, managing director at American Institutes for Research, and Chris Smith, president and executive director of Boston After School &...

BY: Bella DiMarco      05/14/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

Report: Participation in afterschool meals program increased in 2019

A new report released on October 20 by the Food Research and Action Center highlights some good news about the federal Afterschool Meals Program. According to the report, Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation, more than 1.4 million low-income children participated in the Afterschool...

BY: Alexis Steines      11/02/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

Council for a Strong America report depicts state-level campaign to combat childhood obesity

This report was released by Mission: Readiness, one of the five organizations that comprise Council for a Strong America, which aims to strengthen national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble. A recent Council for a Strong America (CSA) Mission:...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/06/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

For the past four months, I have heard stories from the field about the hardships afterschool program staff are seeing in their community and the creative ways they have adapted their programming to support the children and families they serve. From adjusting operations to serve children of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

During a media briefing last week, “The School Reopening Dilemma: New Survey Sheds Light on the Role Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Play in Educating Students and Supporting Families This Fall,” it was revealed that 70 percent of afterschool program providers reported serving students...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

More children are getting afterschool meals that boost their health and learning

By Clarissa Hayes. Originally published on October 25,2019 as a blog on FRAC Chat, the blog of the Food Research & Action Center.  National participation in the Afterschool Nutrition Programs — which are key to closing the hunger gap that exists afterschool for many children...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/01/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

The Impact of Summer: New report offers evidence of the short- and long-term value of investments in summer learning programs

As many in the out-of-school-time field know, the summer months have the potential to widen existing learning inequities contributing to the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers, or serve as a valuable space to combat this exacerbation and not only prevent...

BY: Erin Hegarty      12/21/20

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

New resources from NRPA: How parks and recreation has responded to the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, parks and recreation agencies have been essential partners in supporting community wellbeing and reopening efforts. According to a survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than 190 million U.S. residents visited a park, trail, or other...

BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

Urban Institute: 21st CCLC among 8 policy strategies for school-age child care

The Urban Institute recently released a working paper entitled, “Meeting the School-Age Child Care Needs of Working Parents Facing COVID-19 Distance Learning,” that addresses major challenges that both families and afterschool and childcare providers are currently facing, and lays out a...

BY: Bella DiMarco      09/01/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

Making the most of research partnerships for advancements in afterschool

A brief recently released by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), “Research Partnerships are Key to Improving Practice,” highlights research partnerships and their importance in improving both policy and practice in education. As the brief states, research partnerships—diverse...

BY: Bella DiMarco      04/09/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, “The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,” shows that where...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

New issue brief: Afterschool and the juvenile justice system

COVID-19 has created a number of challenges for millions of families and exacerbated existing inequities, leaving certain groups more vulnerable than others to the harmful effects of the pandemic. This week, we are turning our attention toward celebrating the ways that afterschool programs across...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

Arts education programs can play a significant role in preventing youth from getting involved with the juvenile justice system and supporting the mental wellbeing and successful transition out of the system for those already involved, according to a new report released by the Education Commission...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

The Power of Mentorship: Adult Friends for Youth makes a difference in redirecting youths’ lives

This blog post was adapted from a program highlight featured in Fight Crime, Invest in Kids’ report, “From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe.” Read the full report here. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight the different ways that...

BY: Erin Hegarty      12/19/19

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

The Afterschool Alliance’s fourth edition of America After 3PM—which provides a detailed accounting of the circumstances and conditions of U.S. children during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and compares afterschool program participation and unmet demand statistics for 2020 with results from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, “The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,” shows that where...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

Arts education programs can play a significant role in preventing youth from getting involved with the juvenile justice system and supporting the mental wellbeing and successful transition out of the system for those already involved, according to a new report released by the Education Commission...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19