From Summer Learning Loss to Summer Learning Opportunities

June 19, 2019

Students and robotSummer learning loss, the idea that during the summer, students forget months of what they learn during the school year, with low-income students falling even further behind--has for many years been a driving force behind the implementation of comprehensive summer learning programs that blend academic and enrichment learning experiences.

Recent research shared by Paul von Hippel (“Is Summer Learning Loss Real") explains that gaps in learning form mainly in early childhood, before school begins, such that these gaps are already large when children enter school and change very little afterward. This research may lead us to reframe how we think about closing learning gaps, but it doesn’t negate the overwhelmingly positive influence that a high quality summer learning program experience can have on children and youth particularly as related to social and emotional skill-building, healthy eating and physical activity, and engagement in learning. In addition, von Hippel writes, "every summer offers children who are behind a chance to catch up" and shrink whatever gaps do exist. The National Summer Learning Association adds, "For quality summer learning opportunities to exist and thrive for all children, these programs need funding, resources, local partnerships, and supportive local, state and federal policies.”

NIOST enters its 10th year working with Boston After School & Beyond, a public-private partnership managing a nation-leading summer learning model that will reach over 14,000 students this summer. As we head into July, we celebrate the extraordinary work that has been accomplished, and encourage all communities to explore and partner together towards providing safe, enriching, and empowering summer learning programs for all children and youth.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
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