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There’s No Debating the Value of Summer Learning for America’s Youth: Hundreds of Communities to Celebrate National Summer Learning Week (July 8 – 13)
BALTIMORE (June 28, 2019) — Ask educators in any part of the country and they will tell you there’s no debate: summers matter for children, families and educators. That’s why the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) will lead the country in National Summer Learning Week (July 8 – 13), an awareness and advocacy celebration that aims to elevate the importance of high-quality summer programs in keeping millions of children and youth safe, healthy and learning every summer.
Recent research published by the RAND Corporation points to findings from a Wallace Foundation study — the largest-ever study of summer learning — which showed that students with high attendance in free, five- to six-week, voluntary summer learning programs experienced educationally meaningful benefits in math and reading.
“High-quality summer and afterschool programs can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. For our nation, the summer months present an opportunity to close educational and opportunity gaps that often begin at birth and to seize the summer months as a time for kids to catch up, keep up and grow strong for the school year ahead,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO of NSLA.
Each day of NSLA’s National Summer Learning Week focuses on a different critical summer issue, from literacy or the enriching possibilities of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to arts programming and summertime programs that introduce children to career possibilities.
Summer also is about ensuring our country’s most vulnerable youth have access to good nutrition. By dedicating one day specifically to nutrition and wellness, NSLA draws attention to the fact that the inequities of summer also extend to food security. According to the Food Research and Action Center, only one in seven youth eligible for summer meal programs receive them, which means many children go hungry when school is not in session.
During National Summer Learning Week, NSLA will also endorse the Summer Learning and Meals Act, to be reintroduced by U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon and U.S. Representative Joseph Morelle of New York’s 25th District. Modeled after the successful Oregon Summer Learning, Library, Lunch (SL3) program, the new legislation supporting state libraries will create a federal grant program to allow schools that already serve free summer meals to keep their libraries open for student use during the summer months.
National Summer Learning Week highlights:
- Hundreds of celebrations and summer activities with libraries, museums, summer camps and school district partners coast to coast. On Wednesday, July 10, NSLA will shine a spotlight on Boston After School & Beyond and Boston Public Schools as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of Boston’s bold idea to use the entire city as a classroom for 14,000 children in the summer months, leveraging Boston’s cultural, historical and natural resources to provide learning opportunities that connect academic content to the real world for students.
- Launch of a summer public service campaign featuring 1,000 #KeepKidsLearning digital billboards by Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.
- iHeartRadio summer learning PSAs voiced by Dr. Steve Perry, a daytime TV host and “America’s educator.”
- A website (Summelearning.org) with summer resources like the Summer Stride Tip Sheet and Scholastic Read-a-Palooza Summer Reading Challenge.
- Numerous meaningful participation opportunities in the week for parents, children, educators and professionals leading summer programs.
National Summer Learning Week offers parents, children and program providers free summer learning tools and academic readiness checks, along with an opportunity to advocate for change and ask Congress to protect summer and afterschool program funding. For more information on National Summer Learning Week and opportunities to participate, visit www.summerlearning.org/summer-learning-week.
National Summer Learning Week is supported in part by the following corporate, media and program partners: Aldrin Family Foundation, Association of Children’s Museums, Association for Library Service to Children, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, Collaborative Summer Library Program, iHeartMedia, Lands’ End, Learning Heroes, Kids Read Now, National League of Cities, New York Life Foundation, Scholastic, Urban Libraries Council and The Wallace Foundation.
Editor’s Note: The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) will shine a spotlight on Boston as a national model for summer learning and to endorse the Summer Learning and Meals Act of 2019. Interview opportunities and strong visuals are available with NSLA’s new CEO Aaron Philip Dworkin, Board Chair Jim Quinn and award-winning summer program leaders, students and families.
About National Summer Learning Association
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers capacity-building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.