College Access Professional Summer Learning Community

Supporting the Pathway Builders

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 10 to 20 percent of college eligible students experience summer melt, most of which are BIPOC students living in communities that have been under-resourced. “Summer melt” refers to the phenomenon of the “melting away” of high school graduates’ desire to register and attend college, even after being accepted. It doesn’t have to be this way. Moreover, the challenges of the pandemic and this nation’s racial reckoning has taken its toll on the organizations and individuals whose mission is to fight summer melt and to build life changing pathways for students across the country. While innovative and effective college access programs are addressing this challenge by providing essential technical and social-emotional support for aspiring students, they too need support and community.

The National Summer Learning Association’s (NSLA) College Access and Summer Melt PLC provides a supportive cohort for college access programs by sharing wins, challenges, and discussing the peril and promise of the space.

Planned, led, and facilitated by NSLA Field Consultants, the PLC:

  • Intentionally convenes and provides learning, and networking opportunities to college access staff across the U.S.
  • Holds quarterly virtual training meetings and one in-person, all-day retreat at NSLA’s annual conference in Washington DC
  • Explore key topics such as: Technical & SEL Supports, Best Practices, Program Design, Managing Staff,Organizational Policy, and Partnerships

Who Should Join the College Access PLC?

Staff practitioners charged with developing, delivering, and managing programs in the college access space at the high school and college levels.

PLC Team Facilitators

NSLA has partnered with Third Settlements, a creative EIDB strategy firm to lead this inaugural cohort. Rico Blancaflor, principal, is an experienced executive leader, facilitator, and creative strategist. Before his current role, he was the Vice President of Strategic Projects of The Posse Foundation. Chirag Menon, principal, is an artist, facilitator, and creative strategist. Prior to moving back to New York City. Chirag served as a Program Director and Teaching Artist with Street Poets Inc., a non-profit poetry-based peacemaking organization dedicated to the creative process as a force for individual and community transformation. Dax-Devlon Ross, principal, is the author of six books, and his journalism has been featured in Time, The Guardian, The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post Magazine, and other national publications. He won the National Association of Black Journalists’ Investigative Reporting Award.

Email us at to learn how you can join our PLC.

Download Overview Sheet