Summer Learning!

Rural Districts Adopt California Summer Learning Model


There are a couple of new kids on the block offering rural summer learning programs this year. In fact, they are among the first rural districts in the Central Valley to pave the way for an integrated approach to summer learning. And while they may be new, they will be implementing a proven model that is sure to benefit hundreds of students.

Fowler Unified Summer Enrichment (FUSE) and Kerman Enrichment Summer Adventures (KESA) will adopt an innovative statewide model implemented by a Fresno County Office of Education FRESH partnership. Now in its sixth year, the summer learning model is a refreshing departure from traditional summer school.

The five-week program includes a variety of creative components that address the summer learning loss commonly experienced by students from low-income households:

  • Reading and Fluency – the program theme is based on an exciting age-appropriate novel that students enjoy reading, discussing and bringing to life. Thematic applications of the books throughout the program include leadership, anti-bullying, personal responsibility, food choices, fitness and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • STEM Advancement – offered through a partnership with Fresno State, STEM skills development will include paper circuit lessons where youth will make paper circuits and lighted play dough figures.
  • Physical Fitness – 60 minutes of fun exercise each day that involves lively music, swimming lessons and a variety of activities. Elective classes in dance and recreation are offered in the afternoon as well.
  • Health and Nutrition – along with other health and nutrition lessons, youth will explore Slow-Go-Whoa strategies to determine how to ensure their meals provide needed nutrients.


Giving Central Valley Youth an Edge over Summer Learning Loss

Summer is just around the corner. Nearly a half million youth in the Central Valley will be unleashed into a summer break filled with fun outings and quality time with friends and family. They will have opportunities for experiential learning in camps, parks, museums, libraries, and their own homes. They will continue to have access to nutritious food and plenty of physical activity. For about 10 weeks, the students will be able to build on what they learned in the previous year in preparation for the challenges of the new school year ahead. Right?

For many children, especially from low-income families, this simply is not the case. What is more likely to occur is boredom, lack of supervision, being confined at home or roaming the neighborhood. Kids may learn how to get themselves into trouble, become glued to a video game or television screen, or even fall prey to destructive influences. Studies show that during the summer, there is a stark difference between the haves and the have-nots—that unfortunately surfaces as a summer learning setback in the fall. (more…)

Five Ways to Help Students Prevent Unhealthy Weight Gain this Summer

aqueduct sliderDid you know that youth gain as much weight during the summer as during the whole school year? The healthy meals, fitness activity and health awareness poured into them during school falls prey to summer slacking.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, children gain body mass index (BMI) nearly twice as fast during the summer. BMI is a number calculated from a student’s height and weight. Known as a reliable indicator of body fatness, it is used to screen for weight concerns that lead to health problems. A BMI of 25-29 signifies overweight, while a BMI of 30 or more puts the individual in the obese category. And while we know that Hispanic and African American children are more prone to obesity, they are also the ones who benefit the most from healthy practices at school.

Consider these five ways to help your students stay healthy during the summer: (more…)

Gearing Up to Battle the Summer Slide

aqueduct victoryBy now you should know the facts. Studies reveal indisputable evidence of learning loss for many students during the summer, particularly for low-income youth. We call this “the summer slide.”

Not only is the summer slide characterized by setbacks in reading and math skills, but can include weight gain due to inactivity and poor nutrition at home, risky behavior due to boredom and isolation, and an overall drop in learning opportunity.

Central Valley Afterschool Foundation has been a part of what is now called California’s Summer Learning Initiative for the past three years. The project, seeded by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, has grown to eight demonstration sites:  Fresno, Gilroy, Oakland, San Francisco, Whittier, Sacramento, Santa Ana, and Los Angeles. It is designed to create a bold, new vision for summer learning by setting a higher standard for summer enrichment and increasing access to summer learning opportunities for low-income children. (more…)

For Parents: A New Twist on Summer, Kids Can Combine Fun and Learning

boy-with-mathbookSummer for kids no longer has to mean TV watching, snacking and boredom every day. There are alternative ways to take the summer opportunity and involve your kids in productive activities that can be fun as well as academically and physically enriching.

Research shows that children and youth who lack access to enriching activities face a number of behavioral risks, a greater potential for weight gain, and they typically experience learning loss over the summer months. Consider the facts: (more…)

National Research on Summer Learning Loss

summer splashSince 1906, there have been more than 40 empirical studies that have found indisputable evidence of a pattern of “summer learning loss,” particularly for low-income youth:

Students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer. (Downey et al. 2004)

All young people are at risk of experiencing setbacks in math skills over the summer months. (Cooper, 1996)

Young people in high-poverty communities face much greater risks of experiencing losses.  Low-income children fall behind an average of 2-3 months in reading skills while their middle-income peers can make slight gains. (Cooper, 1996) (more…)

What Parents Want for their Kids in Summer

ldrandkidAlthough parents want to enroll their kids in summer academic and enrichment activities, lack of affordability and access stop them, according to a survey of more than 1,200 California parents, including those from the Central Valley.

On March 11, the results of a survey conducted in the fall of 2009 were released by Public Agenda at a California Legislative Task Force on Summer and Intercession Enrichment hearing at the capitol in Sacramento. Highlights of the survey findings, conducted in English and Spanish, include: (more…)

Innovative Learning at the Central Enrichment Summer Adventures Program

The Central Enrichment Summer Adventures Program is designed to combine experiential learning and fun for fifth through eighth grade students in a five week, full-day program. The classes listed below are examples of the 30 innovative classes currently offered to 350 students during this summer session. The program is one of five pilot sites throughout California designed to create “a new vision for summer learning.”   

  • Goldberg Technology. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning is fun in the summer. This class combines math, science and technology to create giant domino effects by combining multiple apparatus and interactions in a single machine. One day, for example, the apparatus might start with the dropping of a ball and 16 movements later a light bulb illuminates.


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