The effort to improve student outcomes in the Tuscaloosa City Schools has now moved beyond the confines of a traditional school year. The system’s move to close the achievement gap now includes providing high-quality summer learning as a central strategy.
In recent years, TCS has expanded its summer offerings to serve the needs of students who may not have qualified for traditional summer school but still needed extra time with the academic material. Further, the system queried parents to learn their motivations behind selecting a suitable summer program for their student. Overwhelmingly, families indicated that they wanted full-day, affordable enrichment…. And thus the Ultimate Summer Learning Guide was developed to allow parents one-stop to see all location for by TCS programs and other program’s offered by community partners.
Over the course of a summer break, all students lose some of the learning they gain during the school year. On average, students lose the equivalent of about one month of reading. Students who live in socioeconomically disadvantaged families lose much more - over two months in both reading and math. In fact, research suggests that up to two-thirds of the large ninth-grade achievement gap that is common across the country can be traced to elementary summer learning loss. Discover more here – 60 Minutes Examines Summer Learning Loss
Summer programs can play a vital role in fighting summer learning loss. The secret is in offering highly engaging opportunities that students love that keep their minds active while they are away from the formal structures of the school year.
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Since beginning this work in the summer of 2017, we have seen amazing benefits for students who have participated in a summer learning program. Students who attended a summer learning program experienced learning outcomes between one and ten months better than their peers who did not.