young girls performing science research with magnifying glasses

Who We Are.

When we nurture and cultivate a child’s natural brilliance and curiosity, there are positive ripple effects throughout every area of life—both for children and their families. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is a national, non-profit organization focused on the powerful impact of one achievable goal: investing in summer learning to help close the achievement gap.  NSLA uses the power of research, advocacy, training, and policy to transform America’s neighborhoods and communities, one child at a time.

What We Believe.

Resilience, perseverance, curiosity, and the joy of learning: as adults we work hard to cultivate our children’s best qualities and arm them with the tools they need to succeed in life. For over 25 years, NSLA has captured the magic and hidden value of summer. We believe that by investing in summer learning, we can open doors and create new outcomes for young people.

Our work is based on the simple idea that summer—a time that is easily overlooked yet critical to educational development—is bursting with possibility, and instrumental in closing the achievement gap between privileged children and less-resourced children. By casting a spotlight on summer learning loss, and galvanizing parents, educators, legislators, and community organizations to embrace the power of summer learning, we have created a space for greater achievement and potential for all children.

We founded the summer learning movement to bring attention to opportunities for greater health and well-being for children and young people across the nation. As we approach our next 25 years, we continue to build a foundation for even greater possibilities. We create and collaborate on research and tools for program providers, advocates, families, and communities. Our Knowledge Center features many publications from partners, including The Wallace Foundation.

Visit the Knowledge Center

Our Mission

To convince, connect, and equip providers, education leaders, families, and communities to deliver high-quality summer learning opportunities to our nation’s children and youth that help close the achievement gap and support healthy development.

What is NSLA Doing to Solve the Problem?

1. Expanding Access

NSLA works closely with communities to develop and expand engaging and enriching summer learning to the young people who need it the most. NSLA also collaborates with summer learning programs to improve their offerings.

2. Building Awareness

Through partnerships with national organizations serving communities, media outreach and grassroots initiatives, NSLA builds awareness of the need to keep all kids learning, safe and healthy.

3. Strengthening Policy

NSLA convenes leaders across the country and actively advocates at the local, state and federal level for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education.

Policy at a Glance

As the national leader on summer learning and its role in education reform, NSLA tracks and responds to policy issues that affect summer learning at the federal, state, and local levels. Working hand-in-hand with coalition partners, policymakers, and local advocates, 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.

NSLA’s policy priorities focus on maximizing available resources through partnerships and improved efficiencies, sustainability of summer initiatives, and improved use of data to target summer opportunities to the youth most in need.

Subscribe to the policy Common Grounds group or follow NSLA on Twitter to keep track of our policy efforts.

2016 State Policy Summer Snapshot
2016 State Policy Summer Snapshot

Our Services

NSLA believes quality matters across the entire ecosystem of supports, programs and services for young people.

With an eye toward building the skills, knowledge and behaviors that promote academic success and healthy development of young people, NSLA’s experts in Programs and Systems Quality have worked with school districts, summer learning providers and funders across the country to help shape smarter summers, brighter futures for young people. Contact our Director of Program and Systems Building, Leslie Gabay-Swanston, at leslie@summerlearning.org to learn about our portfolio of services and trainings.