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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

March 14, 2007
CONTACT: Amy Lunday

Exemplary Summer Programs Honored
at National Conference

Breakthrough Collaborative and Summerbridge Pittsburgh, Morry's Camp, and SuperKids Camp of the Parks & People Foundation will receive the 2007 Excellence in Summer Learning Award from the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University's School of Education. The award winners will be recognized during the Center's national conference to be held April 18-20 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

"Our 2007 award winners exemplify the type of high-quality summer learning experience that should be accessible to all young people," said Ron Fairchild, executive director of the center.

The Excellence in Summer Learning Award recognizes summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting positive development for young people. The award is given annually based on an application and interview process that elicits information on a program's history, mission, goals, operations, management, staff development, partnerships, results and sustainability. The Excellence in Summer Learning Award seeks to find and draw national attention to exemplary programs providing high-quality summer learning experiences for youth in their communities.

Breakthrough Collaborative is a national non-profit with outstanding national infrastructure whose mission is to launch low-income students on the road to college and to inspire their young teachers to pursue careers in education. By increasing educational opportunity for high- potential middle school students from lower income households and inspiring outstanding college and high school students to pursue careers in education, Breakthrough has positively impacted the lives of more than 10,000 young people. The key to Breakthrough is the students-teaching-students model. The college and high school students who teach middle school students are more than teachers; they are role models and mentors. Often drawn from the same communities as the students, Breakthrough teachers are examples that the skills they teach lead to success. Founded in San Francisco in 1978 as Summerbridge, Breakthrough serves more than 2,200 middle school students annually and employs 700 high school and college students in 27 locations across the United States. Seventy-nine percent of Breakthrough alumni are attending academically rigorous, college preparatory high schools. As a result of their Breakthrough experiences, 72 percent of teachers enter the field of education, building and diversifying America's teaching corps.

Summerbridge Pittsburgh is an exemplary local affiliate of Breakthrough Collaborative. Like other Breakthrough sites, Summerbridge Pittsburgh provides a tuition-free, intensive academic summer program. Participants are admitted based on academic ability and limited opportunity. The program serves lower income middle school students from the Greater Pittsburgh region for two consecutive summers. All Summerbridge Pittsburgh students take classes in mathematics, language arts, wellness, and public speaking. Students and their families are supported through financial aid and career development workshops. Ninety-two percent of Summerbridge Pittsburgh students graduate from high school and 80 percent have enrolled in college, which is double the rate of their comparable peers.

Morry's Camp Inc., a year-round youth development organization, provides children from underserved communities a summer residential camp experience. Each year, Morry's Camp serves about 300 inner-city youth between 9 and 18 from the New York metropolitan area. The camp provides participants, who are referred by a teacher, guidance counselor, social worker, or afterschool staffer, the support and opportunity to develop social, recreational, and educational skills. Staffers help children to identify their individual goals and support them in pursuing those goals both in the summer and throughout the year. Each summer, campers explore the outdoors and build on their school experiences to prepare for the academic challenges of the next grade. One hundred percent of campers graduate from high school, 80 percent enroll in an institution of higher education, and 100 percent of participants in college have remained in college.

Every summer over the past 10 years, the Parks & People Foundation has operated SuperKids Camp, a six-week highly intensive literacy-based program for elementary school students in the Baltimore City public schools. SuperKids Camp combines reading skills improvement with recreation and cultural enrichment activities. Throughout the city, 10 sites collectively serve more than 1,000 children each summer.

Campers visit alternative learning locations such as college campuses, museums, cultural and performing arts centers, libraries, churches, and community-based youth development centers throughout the city. According to a 2006 evaluation, students' test scores were, on average, at or above grade level at the conclusion of camp.

"Celebrate Summer as a Season for Learning" is the theme of this year's Center for Summer Learning conference. A representative from each Excellence in Summer Learning Award-winning organization is invited to speak on a best practices panel that will be held Friday, April 20. The conference will also feature concurrent workshops about integrated approaches to learning, effective program management, and understanding research and influencing policy. Reporters wishing to cover this event should call Amy Lunday at 443-287-9960. Information about the conference is available online at www.summerlearning.org/events/conference.html.

The mission of the Center for Summer Learning is to create opportunities for high-quality summer learning for all young people. Founded in 1992, the center has a proven track record of developing, evaluating, and promoting summer learning programs that improve student achievement and youth development. Over the past 15 years, the center has grown from operating a local program serving 50 children to become the only national organization focused exclusively on summer learning. Last year, the center helped generate more than $12 million dollars of public investment in summer learning programs that reached more than 25,000 children and youth in three states. In addition, the center provided training to more than 1,000 summer program providers in 20 states that collectively serve over 1 million youth.

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