WHY ARE SUMMER & AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS IMPORTANT?
Summer and afterschool programs, commonly referred to as out-of-school programs, offer opportunities for students to continue learning outside of the regular school day. Research shows that students can lose valuable academic gains during the summer while not in school, a phenomenon called “learning loss” or “unfinished learning.” COVID-19 has only exacerbated this problem. Research from McKinsey & Company suggests that if progress is not made, students could have, on average, lost 5 to 9 months of learning by the end of June 2021. Students of color could be 6 to 12 months behind, compared with 4 to 8 months for white students. Students in poverty could lose up to a year of learning. Out-of-school programs can reduce this academic loss in reading and math and even help students make important gains.
High-quality examples of these programs have these major components:
High-quality STEM and reading instruction
Engaging enrichment activities for students to take part in to ensure the program does not feel like a normal school day
Partnerships between Schools & Community Organizations to allow the program to meet the unique needs of the students in their communities
Data-based decision making and continuous improvement to ensure that the program is improving reading and math achievement for students