Dallas Big Thought Event

Resources for Communities

Expanding Summer Opportunities Locally

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Building Awareness and Support

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Strengthening Policy

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Expanding Summer
Opportunities Locally

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Summer Starts in September Planning Guide

Summer Starts in September is a comprehensive summer learning program planning guide full of research-based strategies, program examples and tools that program leaders can use to develop an intentional and high-impact program. Download a sample of the program planning guide.

To purchase a copy, click here.

Keep Kids Learning

Resources to reach more youth with summer learning opportunities.

NSLA’s 2017 Winter Features

ULC Report

Urban Libraries Council

In collaboration with the Urban Libraries Council, NSLA is excited to announce the release of Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning and Fun: An Online Toolkit to Expand from Summer Reading to Summer Learning! Download the report.

Jax Shines Report

Jax Shines

In a new report from Jax Shines shows recommendations for creating an afterschool or summer learning system that improves access for all students, coordinates resources efficiently, improves program quality and delivers results. Download the report.

Building Awareness and Support

Summer Learning Research

The Achievement Gap

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The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.

Mayor’s Summer Learning Playbook

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The National Summer Learning Association calls upon mayors across the country to lead efforts to combat summer learning loss and ensure that children do not fall behind over the summer months.

Plan a Summer Learning Block Party

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Use this tip sheet as a guide to plan a summer block party that connects families with summer resources and opportunities young people need.

Resources from The Wallace Foundation

Mayor's Summer Learning Playbook image

Find free reports, videos, tools, infographics and other useful materials about summer learning from The Wallace Foundation and RAND Corporation in the Summer Learning Knowledge Center including their latest findings in Learning from Summer: Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Urban Youth.

Best Practices

In December 2016, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) released the first issue of SPARK!, an ongoing publication series highlighting best practices in summer learning. This publication series was made possible by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and supports NSLA’s efforts to increase access to high quality summer learning programs across the country.

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Building Community Systems for Summer Learning: Snapshots of State and Local Efforts

This issue of SPARK! focuses on building community systems for summer learning through six key elements: a shared vision, engaged leadership, continuous quality improvement, data management and marketing and communications.

Read more.

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Creating a Summer Opportunity Portfolio

Across the country, communities are making summer commitments to youth and investing in summer programs across five assurances to keep kids learning.

Read more.

Strengthening Policy

As the national leader on summer learning and its role in education reform, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) tracks and responds to policy issues that affect summer learning at the federal, state and local levels. NSLA provides expertise, tools and resources on a number of policy issues that include 21st Century Community Learning Centers, summer meals, community service and service learning, STEM education and funding opportunities for summer programs.

Policy Overview

NSLA promotes and advocates for sound public policy at the federal, state and local levels to improve conditions for summer learning. Meaningful change comes from these five key policy strategies:

1. Incentivize partnerships and improve partner alignment

Partnerships between summer providers serving similar groups of students ensure complete access to a broader range of services and less duplication of efforts. These partners may include summer meals sites and sponsors, schools, community-based and faith-based organizations, libraries, museums, parks and recreation centers, youth employment sponsors, and other agencies, service providers, and organizations that touch the lives of youth during the summer. The result: a community-wide network for anywhere, anytime learning.

2. Promote sustainability

Funding for summer learning doesn’t always require a new grant program. Many existing funding streams are able to support summer learning either as they currently stand or with more explicit expansion into the summer months. Smart use of existing pools of funding and greater collaboration between youth-serving sectors can greatly increase impact during the summer.

3. Improve and promote flexibility of resources

Summer service providers have access to many public funding streams already targeted to youth, especially those who are struggling academically or are considered at-risk. Policymakers should clearly define allowable use of these funds for summer activities.

4. Invest in structural supports and systems

Community-wide systems promote coordination of summer services with each other and with school-year programs that serve the same students, leading to greater efficiency and better outcomes for youth. These structures also create mechanisms for monitoring and maintaining quality of programs through evaluation and professional development.

5. Expand the knowledge base

The research community continues to explore effective strategies and best practices for many aspects of summer learning opportunities, including summer school, youth employment, nutrition programs, enrichment programs, and more. The field continues to explore significant questions around program quality, access to programs, and program outcomes, determining “best fit” approaches for different kinds of students and communities. Better data on how youth spend their summer will help inform equity implications of summer investments. This expanding knowledge base is critical to ensuring smart investments in activities that make a real difference in the lives of youth.