Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New evidence that summer programs can make a difference for poor children - The Washington Post

New evidence that summer programs can make a difference for poor children - The Washington Post:

New evidence that summer programs can make a difference for poor children

Rising fourth grader, Kevin Ramirez, 9, works on a self portrait during art class, part of a new summer program for low-income children in Montgomery County, Md. The program was not among those funded and studied by the Wallace Foundation. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)
During their long, languid summers, lots of children forget the lessons they learned in school. But the hot empty months pose an especially big academic hurdle for poor children, whose families might not have time or money for camps or enrichment activities.
Now new research suggests that school districts can stave off the so-called summer slide by offering free, voluntary programs that mix reading and math instruction with sailing, arts and crafts and other summer staples. The research also shows, perhaps unsurprisingly, that students have to attend the programs regularly to reap the benefits.
“We would hope that these findings would encourage district leaders and others to consider whether summer programs can help them achieve their broader goals,” said Ann Stone, of the Wallace Foundation, which funded the research as part of its $50 million National Summer Learning Project.
The new findings come as many districts have sought to minimize learning loss by shortening summer vacation or moving toward year-round schooling. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) bucked that trend last week when he issued an executive order prohibiting districts from starting class before Labor Day, a move that sparked backlash from district leaders who said it could cost students academically.
The new study, conducted by RAND, compared the performance of third-grade students who applied to and enrolled in five district-run summer programs to the performance of third-graders who applied to those programs and did not get in.
The participating districts, which received funding from the Wallace Foundation to run their programs, were in Boston; Dallas; Duval County, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Rochester, N.Y.
Though each ran its program differently, there were some commonalities. The programs were tuition-free and ran five days a week for at least five weeks, or 25 days; they offered free transportation and meals; they capped class size at 15; and they included at least three hours per day of math and language arts instruction.
Researchers found no long-term academic effects, on average, for all students who signed up. But that analysis included a significant number of children — about one in five — who enrolled and then never actually attended. Some of those students had left the district altogether by the time summer rolled around; others dropped out for unknown reasons.
Another portion of students — 29 percent — had low attendance, showing up for 19 or fewer days.
But half of all the students who enrolled showed up and then attended for at least 20 days. And New evidence that summer programs can make a difference for poor children - The Washington Post:

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