SCUSD gears up to fight summer learning loss
Summer Matters @SCUSD helps kids stay focused, engaged
May 6, 2014 (Sacramento): Sacramento City Unified School District is continuing its work as a leader in the fight against summer learning loss with its free Summer Matters @SCUSD programs for children and teens.
“We are absolutely committed to preventing the kind of summer learning loss that puts urban kids behind their peers when school starts again in September,” says Interim Superintendent Dr. Sara Noguchi. “Our students deserve every academic advantage we can give them.”
According to the National Summer Learning Association (www.summerlearning.org), all students lose some math skills over the summer, but those from low-income homes lose math, reading and spelling skills at a disproportionate rate. Summer learning loss widens the achievement gap between rich and poor students, the association’s research shows.
Summer Matters programs are taught by credentialed teachers, highly engaging and project-based. The programs culminate in a summer showcase event that is attended by hundreds of students and parents.
Sacramento City Unified’s unique portfolio of summer programs are funded through the federal 21st Century grant; the David and Lucille Packard Foundation; the James Irvine Foundation Linked Learning funding; and Title 1 dollars for low-income students. Programs include:
- SummerQuest is seven-week program for incoming first through sixth graders. Students strengthen their literacy, math and social science skills with project-based activities. They also learn about healthy eating and the importance of exercise.
- Summer of Service (middle school) gives incoming seventh and eighth grade students the privilege of working together to improve their community through service projects aimed at addressing neighborhood issues and concerns. SOS also serves as a great opportunity for students to get to know their new campus and to make new friends. Additionally, studies have shown that participation in the SOS Program can lead to higher academic, behavior and attendance outcomes in addition to a deeper school connection.
- Summer of Service (high school) gives incoming ninth graders the opportunity of working together to improve their community through service learning projects aimed at addressing community issues while getting to know their new classmates, school and teachers. Students that complete 120 hours of the program are eligible to receive five credits towards their graduation as well as the opportunity to participate in an overnight leadership camp at the end of program.
- SOS Ambassadors trains teens to work as group leaders in Summer Matters programs. Ambassadors who fulfill all responsibilities and duties can earn 5 credits and a stipend.
- Summer at City Hall provides incoming 11th and 12th grade high school students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while making a difference in their communities. Selected participants get a chance to take advantage of working alongside decision makers to impact their city by working as an intern within a variety of City of Sacramento departments or with a community-based partner. Selected interns attend fun and informative classes at City Hall, where they have the opportunity to meet peers with similar interests and to learn from and network with City Hall officials and decision-makers. In addition to the experience, participants that complete the seven-week course and a 30-hour internship earn five high school credits and a stipend.
“We see summer learning as a necessity, not a luxury,” Dr. Noguchi says. “We have to make summer learning a priority or doom our kids to a cycle of falling behind, which is very difficult to break.”
More information can be found at www.summeratSCUSD.org.