Compelling Evidence about Effective Summer Programming

Summer is a valuable time for families, students, and educators. Not only are the summer months an opportunity to improve social and cognitive development for children, but also to mitigate the impacts of instructional loss further widened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the nation, school districts are working to develop their summer programming to make the most impact on students. 

Summer is a valuable time for families, students, and educators. Not only are the summer months an opportunity to improve social and cognitive development for children, but also to mitigate the impacts of instructional loss further widened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the nation, school districts are working to develop their summer programming to make the most impact on students.    

Our work in North Carolina for summer programming is evolving with a focus on evidence-based practices from the field so that the structures around recovery and acceleration are a consistent priority. Based on the recent report of the Impact Analysis of Student Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic at the state level, all student subgroups were significantly impacted by the pandemic and lost instructional time. This report serves as a benchmark to continue to monitor student progress over time and as an indicator for districts to align resources, target interventions, and provide support for students with the highest need. In some cases, given the severity and diversity of pandemic-induced challenges, some students may now need interventions that accelerate learning experiences beyond the typical instructional time during an academic school year – here we look to summer learning opportunities.  

The purpose of this white paper is to provide evidence-based recommendations for districts and charters that lead to successful programming for the summer months.  We have pulled together research-based recommendations for program structure; curriculum and instruction; and personnel and instructional support based on voluntary summer learning program literature. Offering a summer program does not guarantee to benefit students. Nevertheless, there are compelling findings that reveal core structural components that make the implementation of these summer learning programs more effective. 

“We know that our students need additional quality time with their teachers and their peers - to explore and learn in interesting ways. We have designed and targeted our summer program on standards-aligned curriculum and applications that focus on acceleration of critical literacy skill development for our earliest readers and those identified as not-on-grade level. We want all our students to come back confident and ready to learn next school year” 

~Dr. Jeana Conley, Superintendent, Cherokee County Schools 

 

OLR White Paper: June 2022

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