Classroom wisdom and recent research tells us that summer plays a special role in youth development. Evidence shows that well-planned, high-quality summer learning programs can produce positive academic and social-emotional development gains among students (McCombs, Augustine, Pane, & Schweig, 2020). However, not all students have access to quality summer programming, especially those who might need it the most (Dworkin, 2022).
State and district leaders perform a key role in facilitating access to meaningful summer learning opportunities. Research identifies five key conditions that support effective planning of quality summer learning programs (Schwartz, McCombs, Augustine, & Leschitz, 2018):
- Start planning early (no later than January).
- Identify a dedicated summer planning lead with authority to engage or oversee departmental leaders.
- Establish cross-departmental planning teams with defined roles and responsibilities.
- Engage summer site leads, including community partners in planning.
- Identify a process to collect and discuss data focused on program attendance, instructional time and practices, and site climate.
Are you ready to make next summer the best yet for learners in your community? Earlier this year, the Region 8 Comprehensive Center hosted a virtual learning series, Getting Ready for Summer. This four-part series provided opportunities for educators to reflect on past summer learning programs and craft new approaches to meet the needs of learners and families in their communities. Session recordings and materials are now available on the Region 8 Comprehensive Center website to access on-demand to support the planning of your summer learning programming.
- Setting up for Summer Success: Focuses on the essential elements of planning effective summer learning programs.
- Supporting Student and Family Recruitment: Develops and aligns key recruitment messages tailored to the summertime learning needs and interests of your learning community.
- Developing Your Approach to Site Climate and Culture: Explores strategies for creating a warm and welcoming summer learning environment.
- Strategies to Accelerate Student Learning this Summer: Discusses an approach for accelerating student learning through summer programming.
Want more resources to help plan your summer learning program? Check out the Wallace Foundation’s Summer Learning Toolkit filled with tools, tip sheets, and sample materials to help you deliver meaningful summer learning programs. You can also access resources across the Comprehensive Center Network focused on summer learning and out-of-school time.
Dworkin, L. (2022, April 8). Let’s talk about summer: Some student groups lose more ground when school is out. NWEA. https://www.nwea.org/blog/2022/lets-talk-about-summer-some-student-groups-lose-more-ground-when-school-is-out/
McCombs, J.S., Augustine, C.H., Pane, J.F., & Schweig, J. (2020). Every summer counts: A longitudinal analysis of outcomes from the National Summer Learning Project. RAND Corporation. https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/pages/every-summer-counts-a-longitudinal-analysis-of-outcomes-from-the-national-summer-learning-project.aspx
Schwartz, H.L., McCombs, J.S., Augustine, C.H., & Leschitz, J.T. (2018). Getting to work on summer learning: Recommended practices for success, 2nd edition. RAND Corporation. https://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Getting-to-Work-on-Summer-Learning-2nd-ed.pdf