Community Visioning for Summer Learning

Working Together for Greater Impact

A well-known African proverb reminds us that it takes a village to raise a child. This idea is at the heart of community systems building. Throughout every community, there are people and institutions interested in making life better for children and youth. Community systems building brings all of these community members together to provide a space for partnership, planning, and implementation. The goal is to maximize the impact and effectiveness of every summer learning effort.

Community system building activates the cumulative power of a wide range of groups, individuals, and institutions—including libraries and museums, social and religious groups, state and local government, and local neighborhood organizations—to create new opportunities for summer learning. NSLA promotes a three-step approach to community systems building:

1. Assess: Take a look at current summer investments and programs throughout the community. Determine what is being done, and where there may be opportunities for innovation and improvement.

2. Plan: Develop an action plan for summer learning in your community. Flesh out the ideas identified in the assessment phase. Create a committee to develop the plan, and figure out which stakeholders can help you bring the plan to fruition. Share the plan with your stakeholders.

3. Act: Whenever you’re taking on a new project, new skills need to be learned. Provide training and technical assistance for your partners to support implementation of the action plan. Build the capacity of your member institutions and improve your chances for the greatest possible impact.

View Community Assessment Reports