The Center for Summer Learning at The Johns Hopkins University is organizing its first national Summer Learning Day on Thursday, July 15, when schools, universities, and summer camps across the country will host events emphasizing the importance of summertime studies for primary and secondary school students.
In Baltimore, the center will host a city-wide rally at 9 a.m. at Brehms Lane Elementary School, 3536 Brehms Lane. All participants will take a summer learning pledge and commit to enhancing the quality of academic enrichment available to young people over the summer months.
Local participants include the mayor's office, Baltimore's After School Strategy (The After-School Institute and Safe and Sound Campaign), Baltimore City Public Schools, the city's Department of Recreation and Parks, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Parks and People Foundation, the Police Athletic League, YMCA of Central Maryland, and various faith-based organizations and parent groups.
Similar events are planned in other cities nationwide, including Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Denver; Newport, R.I.; Boston; New Orleans; Houma, La. Harrisburg, S.D., held its celebration July 1. Updates and some site-specific information is available online at webapps.jhu.edu/summerlearning/summerlearningday/.
Summer Learning Day is a time for communities to celebrate the importance of high-quality summer learning opportunities in the lives of young people and their families, said Ron Fairchild, executive director of the Center for Summer Learning. Events will showcase summer programs, raising awareness of how such programs send young people back to school ready to learn, support working families, and keep children safe and healthy.
"The overarching goal of Summer Learning Day is to mobilize public support to ensure that no child takes a vacation from learning during the summer months," Fairchild said.
Research by Johns Hopkins and others has shown that all students lose over two months of mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income children experience much greater summer learning losses in reading than their higher income peers contributing to the growth of the achievement gap. For example, by the end of fifth-grade, low-income children fall more than two years behind their middle-income peers in verbal achievement as a direct result of summer learning differences. In addition to having an adverse impact on learning, summer vacation also has negative effects on the health and nutrition of many young people. On average, only one in five children across the country who receive free and low-cost school lunches participate in federal nutrition programs during the summer. A fact sheet containing summer learning statistics is available online at www.jhu.edu/ovs/TB/Teach/summerlearningday/ factsheet.pdf.
The Center for Summer Learning develops, evaluates, and disseminates model summer learning programs, stimulates research, and builds public support for summer learning. Since 1992, the Center's Teach Baltimore Summer Academy program has raised $2 million and provided summer programs to more than 2,500 Baltimore City Public School System students. Teach Baltimore has recruited and trained 316 college students from 51 institutions of higher learning to serve as instructors, providing 78,000 hours of service to local youth. The center was recently awarded a $528,000 grant ($176,000/year for the next three years) from the Maryland State Department of Education that will enable it to launch a new summer program called KindergARTen Camp at three new elementary schools and examine the long-term impact of providing such an intervention on the reading achievement and development of young people.
The center's coordination of Summer Learning Day was made possible by a $15,000 grant from the Staples Foundation for Learning Inc. For information or to speak with representatives from the Center for Summer Learning, contact Ron Fairchild at 410-516-6221.
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