National study calls Boston a ‘pioneer’ in summer learning
Boston Public Schools one of six districts nationwide studied in ‘Promising Practice’ report
BOSTON –Boston Public Schools (BPS) is one of six school districts from across the nation included in a national report released this week, called Getting to Work on Summer: Recommended Practices for Success released by the non-profit RAND Corporation. The report identifies promising practices for summer learning programs. The findings are based on a five-year initiative on summer learning funded by The Wallace Foundation.
The RAND Corporation selected Boston because of its demonstrated leadership in summer learning. This summer, one in five BPS students participated in a summer learning program – more than twice as many as five years ago.
“Creating new summer learning opportunities is a key part of our effort to expand the reach of our school day,” said BPS Interim Superintendent John McDonough. “Learning should not be limited to six or seven hours a day, and must extend well beyond our classroom walls with great teachers taking the lead. We are pleased to participate in this study that contributes to a better understanding of best practices in education, including a focus on summer learning.”
“Mayor Menino and the Boston School Committee have long known that summer learning is a key element to help close achievement gaps and improve the quality of education,” said Boston School Committee Chair Michael O’Neill. “We have been pleased to increase our investments and partnerships in this area and are glad to have our work recognized in this national report.”
In addition to Boston, RAND researchers examined five other school districts in the study — Cincinnati, Dallas, Duval County (Florida), Pittsburgh, and Rochester, N.Y. RAND’s research on these six sites led to a set of recommendations that will enable all school districts and community leaders to more effectively plan, develop, and strengthen summer learning programs.
Among the findings: the single most important step school districts can take is to begin planning for summer at least six months in advance, and to include both school district and summer site leaders in the process. Other recommendations include spending three to four hours a day on academics, recruiting motivated teachers with appropriate grade-level experience, using a research-based curriculum, and establishing clear attendance policies.
“Summer learning programs have the potential to close the achievement gap associated with the loss of educational skills during the summer months,” said Catherine Augustine, a study co-author and a senior policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “But these programs are often an afterthought or not offered at all, particularly when education budgets are tight. This research provides districts with guidance on how to create summer learning programs that could offer real benefits to struggling students.”
RAND Education, a division of the RAND Corporation, is a leader in providing objective, high-quality research and analysis on all levels of education from early childhood through adult learning. Our work helps policymakers and practitioners around the world make educational policies, programs and practices more effective for all. Learn more at www.rand.org<http://www.rand.org> . Press contact: Joe Dougherty. 703.413.1100 x 5137. email@example.com
The Wallace Foundation is an independent, national foundation dedicated to supporting and sharing effective ideas and practices that expand learning and enrichment opportunities for disadvantaged children. Its five current objectives are: strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement; helping selected cities make good afterschool programs available to many more children; making the arts a part of many more people’s lives by working with arts organizations to broaden, deepen and diversify audiences; expanding arts learning opportunities for children and teens; and better understanding the impact of high-quality summer learning programs on disadvantaged children, and enriching and expanding the school day in ways that benefit students. Learn more at www.wallacefoundation.org. Press contact: Nina Sonenberg. 212.251.9750. nsonenberg@wallacefoundation.