Summer Learning: Closing the Achievement Gap

The summer is quickly approaching which means vacation for many students in our community. While classes will be out of session, there are many opportunities for youth to engage in learning and develop essential skills to avoid falling behind once school is back in session. Data shows that most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains. And by the end of fifth grade, disadvantaged children are nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading.

BLOCS – a community partnership founded by Metro United Way, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Louisville Metro Government – recently held their 3rd Annual Summer Learning Summit to give educators and community leaders the tools they need to keep youth learning with enriched experiences during the summer break. There were 47 local organizations represented and 100 participants that gathered at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage for the summit to focus on summer learning through four interactive, rotating sessions. Topics included youth development, developing a creative classroom, behavior management and summer reading.

“We really enjoyed the short workshop rotation. The creative classroom and behavior management class with Monica Marie Jones was particularly engaging,” said Rachel Mauser of the Steam Exchange. “We gained valuable tips and diverse strategies for transitioning between activities as well as for varying the structure of activities. By providing kids with a classroom where they feel safe, supported and challenged, optimal learning will occur with less behavioral issues.”

Research shows attending summer learning programs for at least two consecutive summers helps to close the achievement gap. And students participating in enriching summer learning make significant gains in academic performance and behavior, including scoring higher on testing.

At Metro United Way, we believe education is the foundation for a child’s success in school and life. Metro United Way is excited that the BLOCS Summer Learning Summit was successful in bringing our community together to provide resources for our youth to continue their learning during the summer and help them stay on track towards high school graduation.


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