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Making the case for summer learning: A new report provides evidence and recommendations

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Making the case for summer learning: A new report provides evidence and recommendations

A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Wallace Foundation, takes a deep dive into the summer months, the opportunities they can provide for youth, and the best ways to connect with those youth who have the greatest need for those opportunities. “Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth” considers the impact of summertime experiences on the four domains of well-being for young people: academic learning; social and emotional development; physical and mental health; and safety. The report highlights the profound impact that the summer learning space can have for youth and offers key recommendations to promote increased access and quality.

Summer learning programs can help to close gaps in developmental and academic outcomes. The achievement gap between students from lower-income and higher-income families has grown by 40 percent in 30 years. By providing space for both structured and unstructured activities and enrichment, the report finds, summer learning programs are positioned to positively impact outcomes for youth, including supporting improved academic performance, promoting the development of social and emotional competencies, and reducing risky behaviors.

A lack of availability of summer experiences can further exacerbate existing inequities. Oftentimes, access to these experiences are dependent on families’ financial status. Furthermore, the summer can create additional barriers for families who rely on the consistency of vital resources during the school year, such as healthy meals, health care, academic support, and supervision. The report therefore recommends a specific focus on reaching low-income and underserved communities.

Individual community needs must be on the forefront of planning and execution. By focusing on the importance of social contexts, which create both barriers and opportunities for communities, one can create programming that specifically utilizes the assets and addresses the priorities of the community in which one is working.

Collaboration is an essential aspect of effectively delivering programming. The report takes a systems approach to analyzing the effectiveness of summer learning programs and how to increase access to these programs. This approach emphasizes the connectedness of the different agents at play in children and families’ lives and the ways in which partners can work together to contribute to the success of their communities. This means involving partners from both the private and public sectors and increasing investment at all level of government. The report specifically calls out governors and mayors; federal and state government agencies; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; federal, state, and city officials; nongovernmental organizations; and the business community, highlighting recommendations for the role that they can each play in improving availability, access, and equity in summer learning programs.

Data is key in making the case for and understanding how to best implement summer programming. The report also specifically underscores the importance of the collection and use of data, citing the lack of existing effective data systems. It recommends that local governments establish quality management systems (QMS) that can help systematically assess, develop, and improve summertime programming. The report also highlights the need to support the collection of data on children and youth’s experiences during the summer months and to share this data across systems when possible.

Check out the highlights from the report or read the full report here to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the findings.

Valley Heights Community Education: Helping their rural community through the pandemic

This blog post is adapted from a program spotlight in "How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19," a June 2020 issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance. Started in the mid-1990s as a response to more households having both parents working outside the...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

New resources from NRPA: How parks and recreation has responded to the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, parks and recreation agencies have been essential partners in supporting community wellbeing and reopening efforts. According to a survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than 190 million U.S. residents visited a park, trail, or other...

BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

Last month, the Afterschool Alliance released a blog digging into regional differences from the COVID-19 program provider survey results. Here, we will explore a few more notable differences, specifically in regards to programs’ summer plans and what the future holds.  This...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Help us tell the story of afterschool AND win a chance at a cash prize

We need your help to keep the drumbeat going on the ways in which COVID-19 is impacting afterschool and summer programs and the young people and families who rely on them. By completing this short survey, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes of your time, you are helping to tell your...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/20/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

For the past four months, I have heard stories from the field about the hardships afterschool program staff are seeing in their community and the creative ways they have adapted their programming to support the children and families they serve. From adjusting operations to serve children of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

During a media briefing last week, “The School Reopening Dilemma: New Survey Sheds Light on the Role Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Play in Educating Students and Supporting Families This Fall,” it was revealed that 70 percent of afterschool program providers reported serving students...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

Atlanta After 3PM: Parents want more afterschool support

In Atlanta, GA, a high number of families want to enroll their children in afterschool programs – but barriers such as cost stand in the way, pointing to a lack of affordable afterschool options. For every child in an afterschool program in Atlanta, two more are waiting to get in. These...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

Last month, the Afterschool Alliance released a blog digging into regional differences from the COVID-19 program provider survey results. Here, we will explore a few more notable differences, specifically in regards to programs’ summer plans and what the future holds.  This...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Data on child well-being: How does the nation measure up?

Understanding how our youth are faring is an important aspect of not only reinforcing, but also strengthening the supports that afterschool provides. Two separate reports released this summer delved into the state of child well-being across the country, measuring our nation’s progress over...

BY: Rina Moss      09/03/19

To elevate equity, diversity, and inclusion, go deeper into your quality standards

By Femi Vance, researcher at American Institutes for Research, Board President for the California School-Age Consortium, Field Consultant for the National Summer Learning Association, and editor of Changemakers! Equity and Access in Out-of-School Time Programs. Implementing high-quality...

BY: Guest Blogger      08/23/19

America After 3PM: Middle School Youth

The 2020 edition of the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM report – which includes survey response data from more than 10,000 U.S. families of middle school students – reveals that while parents of middle school students recognize the many benefits of afterschool programs,...

BY: Chandler Hall      02/03/21

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

The Afterschool Alliance’s fourth edition of America After 3PM—which provides a detailed accounting of the circumstances and conditions of U.S. children during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and compares afterschool program participation and unmet demand statistics for 2020 with results from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

A how-to guide for navigating the America After 3PM dashboard: Part 1

While recent reports, fact sheets, and infographics detail key findings from the America After 3PM household survey of more than 31,000 parents of school-aged children, the America After 3PM dashboard was created to provide broader access to the survey’s rich data set, which includes...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/12/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

Atlanta After 3PM: Parents want more afterschool support

In Atlanta, GA, a high number of families want to enroll their children in afterschool programs – but barriers such as cost stand in the way, pointing to a lack of affordable afterschool options. For every child in an afterschool program in Atlanta, two more are waiting to get in. These...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

5 big takeaways from America After 3PM 2020 Since 2004, America After 3PM has provided an essential view into the state and circumstances of children and young people in the after-school hours. This year’s study, America After 3PM 2020, includes responses from 30,000 U.S. families and...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

While collaboration between youth-serving organizations continues, gaps in service still exist

In a Forum for Youth Investment webinar, Shaping Summertime Experiences: Aligning Practice to Recommendations Recap and Resources, panelists Dr. Deborah Moroney, managing director at American Institutes for Research, and Chris Smith, president and executive director of Boston After School &...

BY: Bella DiMarco      05/14/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

A few weeks ago, we concluded the third in a series of national surveys of afterschool providers in the pandemic, conducted by Edge Research and released by the Afterschool Alliance. Eight months into COVID-19, there are three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

Report: Participation in afterschool meals program increased in 2019

A new report released on October 20 by the Food Research and Action Center highlights some good news about the federal Afterschool Meals Program. According to the report, Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation, more than 1.4 million low-income children participated in the Afterschool...

BY: Alexis Steines      11/02/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

Council for a Strong America report depicts state-level campaign to combat childhood obesity

This report was released by Mission: Readiness, one of the five organizations that comprise Council for a Strong America, which aims to strengthen national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble. A recent Council for a Strong America (CSA) Mission:...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/06/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

For the past four months, I have heard stories from the field about the hardships afterschool program staff are seeing in their community and the creative ways they have adapted their programming to support the children and families they serve. From adjusting operations to serve children of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

During a media briefing last week, “The School Reopening Dilemma: New Survey Sheds Light on the Role Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Play in Educating Students and Supporting Families This Fall,” it was revealed that 70 percent of afterschool program providers reported serving students...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

More children are getting afterschool meals that boost their health and learning

By Clarissa Hayes. Originally published on October 25,2019 as a blog on FRAC Chat, the blog of the Food Research & Action Center.  National participation in the Afterschool Nutrition Programs — which are key to closing the hunger gap that exists afterschool for many children...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/01/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

The Impact of Summer: New report offers evidence of the short- and long-term value of investments in summer learning programs

As many in the out-of-school-time field know, the summer months have the potential to widen existing learning inequities contributing to the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers, or serve as a valuable space to combat this exacerbation and not only prevent...

BY: Erin Hegarty      12/21/20

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

New resources from NRPA: How parks and recreation has responded to the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, parks and recreation agencies have been essential partners in supporting community wellbeing and reopening efforts. According to a survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than 190 million U.S. residents visited a park, trail, or other...

BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

Urban Institute: 21st CCLC among 8 policy strategies for school-age child care

The Urban Institute recently released a working paper entitled, “Meeting the School-Age Child Care Needs of Working Parents Facing COVID-19 Distance Learning,” that addresses major challenges that both families and afterschool and childcare providers are currently facing, and lays out a...

BY: Bella DiMarco      09/01/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

In October 2019, The Wallace Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance brought together youth development leaders, researchers, and educators to discuss social and emotional learning (SEL), identify obstacles to teaching SEL, and begin to brainstorm ways to address those challenges. While...

BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

Making the most of research partnerships for advancements in afterschool

A brief recently released by the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), “Research Partnerships are Key to Improving Practice,” highlights research partnerships and their importance in improving both policy and practice in education. As the brief states, research partnerships—diverse...

BY: Bella DiMarco      04/09/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, “The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,” shows that where...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

New issue brief: Afterschool and the juvenile justice system

COVID-19 has created a number of challenges for millions of families and exacerbated existing inequities, leaving certain groups more vulnerable than others to the harmful effects of the pandemic. This week, we are turning our attention toward celebrating the ways that afterschool programs across...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

Arts education programs can play a significant role in preventing youth from getting involved with the juvenile justice system and supporting the mental wellbeing and successful transition out of the system for those already involved, according to a new report released by the Education Commission...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

The Power of Mentorship: Adult Friends for Youth makes a difference in redirecting youths’ lives

This blog post was adapted from a program highlight featured in Fight Crime, Invest in Kids’ report, “From Risk to Opportunity: Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe.” Read the full report here. This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight the different ways that...

BY: Erin Hegarty      12/19/19

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

The Afterschool Alliance’s fourth edition of America After 3PM—which provides a detailed accounting of the circumstances and conditions of U.S. children during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and compares afterschool program participation and unmet demand statistics for 2020 with results from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, “The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,” shows that where...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

Arts education programs can play a significant role in preventing youth from getting involved with the juvenile justice system and supporting the mental wellbeing and successful transition out of the system for those already involved, according to a new report released by the Education Commission...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19