June 24, 2020 (Rochester, NY): Though students cannot come together in person this summer to learn, Rochester summer learning providers are collaborating to ensure critical learning and support continues for students throughout July and August. The newly formed Summer Learning Collaborative upholds a common purpose to develop and deliver free, holistic summer learning opportunities for 800 students and comprises partners: Allendale Columbia Summer LEAP, EnCompass, Horizons at Harley, Horizons at Warner, Soaring Stars at SUNY Geneseo, Summer LEAP at SUNY Brockport, Summer LEAP at West Irondequoit, Summer LEAP Pre-K Sites, Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association, and Education Success Foundation.
Partners originally convened to identify ways to support additional Rochester City School District students when the district notified the community it would no longer support summer learning programs or transportation to programs. Amid COVID-19 challenges, the Collaborative continued to plan for onsite and remote learning if in-person, daily sessions were not possible. The focus of the collaborative effort shifted to maintaining connections with students and their families and assisting families in meeting basic needs.
Summer learning programming in 2020 will not look like past years when Pre-K through grade 8 students congregated on school and college campuses throughout Rochester, nor will remote instruction simply replace summer experiences. Instead, collaborative providers have developed a “blended” model to offer engaging, hands-on learning experiences for students, guided by their summer learning teachers and staff.
In addition to developing the unique, adapted format, The Summer Learning Collaborative is enhancing the quality and consistency of experiences for participating students and families with measures that include a common application, standardized progress and continuous improvement measures, and data sharing.
“Ultimately, the efforts of the Collaborative are creating opportunities for high quality learning, and forged effective collaboration, out of what could have been a barrier,” states Joseph Martino, CEO of Education Success Foundation, a convener of the Collaborative. “We began with the belief that children and families do not have to miss out on summer learning, and it’s up to us to be innovative. This group of providers is combining resources, expertise, and creativity for the benefit of Rochester’s students!”
Summer is a critical time when students, especially those from economically disadvantaged households, lose the academic skills and knowledge gained during the previous school year. The National Summer Learning Association reports that “most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills” and “low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.” Summer learning loss is cumulative over time and, therefore, summer is a crucial time for meaningful, academically-focused, summer learning opportunities so as not to further exacerbate the achievement gap in our schools and communities (McCombs et al, 2011).
Compounding summer learning loss this year, experts project children living in poverty stand to lose an entire year of reading and math gains due to COVID-19 school closures. The Summer Learning Collaborative will strive to mitigate these gaps and continue important connections for Rochester students.
Looking for more information?
Cara Fitzgerald: Cfitzgerald@e-success.org 585-704-9081