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EdSource Highlighting Student Success
June 18, 2014
Welcome to EdSource's Leading Change newsletter,
National Summer Learning Day edition! 

Summer break lives in our minds as a time to relax after a challenging school year. But it can also be a time of real stress, as parents figure out how to keep their kids safe and engaged, teachers look for summer jobs to help make ends meet, and school leaders plan for the upcoming year while grappling with the massive changes in policies and practices of the past year.

As a working parent, there is always a twinge of dread for me as summer comes along. I know first hand that "summer learning loss" is not just a buzzword--its effects on students can linger for months into the school year. But some young people face more basic concerns: I'll never forget going on a site visit (in my former life as a foundation officer) to a summer enrichment program for low-income youth, held in a steaming-hot church basement. When the program director was asked to name one thing she needed to serve kids better, her answer was simple: funding for extra meals on Fridays, so the kids could fill their pockets with food for the weekend. For these kids, the summer program provided the only real meals they would get until school started again.

This week's newsletter looks at a sampling of the issues students and educators face when the school year ends, as well as research and strategies to help school leaders address them. What are the biggest challenges you deal with each summer? Let us know.

Best regards,

Erin Brownfield
Editor, Leading Change

Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

by Diana Lambert and Loretta Kalb, Sacramento Bee

During the recession, Elk Grove Unified and other school districts found it challenging to maintain a full regular school calendar, and many deemed summer classes for high-achievers unaffordable. But as the state has begun spending more on education, districts are reopening their doors this summer to their entire population of high school students. That means expanding classes beyond the bare-bones remedial instruction maintained during the recession, helping students get ahead and ensuring their academic skills do not wither in the summer months.

Click here to read the full article. 



Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
by Irene Florez, New America Media 

For most students summer is a welcome break from the demands of school. But it's also a critical time for them to gain out-of-the-class experience that experts and educators say is key to helping close the achievement gap.

"Children spend only 20 percent of their waking time annually in formal classroom education," explains M. Elena Lopez, Ph.D., associate director of the Harvard Family Research Project. "That leaves 80 percent of their time for exploring and enhancing their learning interests in non-school settings."

Summer, she notes, is the time for parents to address educational gaps through family engagement focused on learning. Click here to read more.

excerpt from:
Gary Huggins, CEO National Summer Learning Association


Summer learning loss means that, all across our country, teachers must spend a good part of the first 2 months of school on review. In a 2012 survey of 500 teachers in summer learning programs in 15 cities, 66% said it typically takes them at least 3 - 4 weeks to reteach the previous year's skills at the beginning of a new school year. Another 24% said reteaching takes them 5 - 6 weeks.  


Until all children in a given classroom are offered the same kinds of summer learning experiences, these reteaching estimates are likely to persist. That translates into millions of dollars in public education funding wasted each year.

Ignoring the summer months also wastes incredible opportunities for innovation in instructional approaches and curriculum development during a season that offers great flexibility for students and teachers to pilot new learning models. With the arrival of the Common Core State Standards, school districts will need to harness not only the extra time summer provides, but also the space for innovations that can help all students meet higher targets.

It's time to invest in summer learning
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy
Summer learning programs are key to advancing some of our top priorities, including Common Core implementation, supporting students' social emotional growth, and enhancing teacher/staff professional development.

From the EdSource Today commentary archive, Jan. 2014

On Our Reading List
Getting to work on summer learning: recommended practices for success

This report from RAND offers guidance to school district leaders interested in launching or improving summer learning programs.

A fact sheet from the USDA.

Education Week summarizes new research from Reading is Fundamental about how kids spend their time in summer.

Common Core Watch

The Hechinger Report looks at how the Common Core's original goal of consistent expectations for students across American classrooms is faring against many states' resistance.

Tweet of the Week



"Kids tend to slide at things they don't like...They're going to avoid that subject over the summer."



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