Today is National Summer Learning Day – a time to recognize and affirm the importance of learning throughout every summer of childhood.
Summer learning has always been central to Horizons’ year-round, out-of-school-time approach to teaching. With over 50 years of experience, we’ve seen incredible value in educating children over the summer – especially children from low-income families.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) reports that “summer slide” (the erosion of school-year learning over the summer) affects low-income students profoundly, accounting for some 50% of the achievement gap between low-income kids and their more fortunate peers by the time they reach 9th grade.
We believe summer learning is a very effective way to bridge that gap. A high-quality summer program engages potentially at-risk students with learning that may not be available to them in school – from literacy to STEM to arts to swimming – and improves how students feel about school, about their future, and about themselves.
The NSLA’s vice chairman, Jim Quinn, observes that attributes like talent, drive, and ambition are distributed equally in society – but that opportunity is not. That’s where summer learning (not “summer school”) comes in. Says Quinn, “There is no better investment in education, dollar for dollar, than investment in summer learning.”
Every summer can make a life-changing difference for young people; summer learning helps students return to school every fall ready to succeed. At Horizons, we have seen the impact of long-term involvement in summer learning: far exceeding their peer group, on average 97% of Horizons high school students graduate, and 91% go on to college or other post-secondary education.
We urge you to check out the National Summer Learning Day website to find out more about summer learning, plus resources for students, parents, and educators.