July 2011 Archives

21st-Century Conference Focuses on Community Partnerships

Thousands of people, along with me, spent the past two days at the annual 21st Century Community Learning Center's Summer Institute held in Oxon Hill, Md., and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and J.C. Penny. The 21st CCLC federal grant program has been one of the fastest-growing in history, currently budgeted at more than $1 billion—funding that supports programs that provide academically enriching experiences for children during out-of-school time. Formula grants are allocated to states, which then redistribute them via competitive awards to organizations, local education agencies, and schools to run...


Digital Technology Enhances Learning This Summer

Detroit public school students are getting an early start on next year's curriculum through a virtual summer program.


'Does Vacation Have to Mean Vacuum?'

"Why does vacation have to mean vacuum?" asks Matthew Boulay, interim CEO of the National Summer Learning Association.


Q&A: How States Can Improve Summer Learning

Some leaders in California are working to increase the options, availability, and quality of summer programs in the state, particularly for low-income kids. In 2008, a bill established a legislative task force on summer learning to make research-backed recommendations to California officials on how to meet the needs of the state's underserved children in the summer. The task force has been advising state leaders since, including generating recent legislation that may enable California to use state and federal after-school funding to build summer programs and make summer learning a priority in future efforts. According to the National Summer Learning Association, ...


Swords Drawn on 21st Century Community Learning Centers?

A group of senators proposed a reauthorization plan yesterday for the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program that would enhance application protocol and accountability requirements for after-school, before school, and summer programs.


Story on Summer Programs Out Today

My story on summer programs is up on our homepage today. (It's in the print issue of our paper this week, too.) It takes a look at four cities that have managed to maintain, enhance, and increase summer programs when many others are slashing them given budget shortfalls. The four cities—Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, and Oakland, Calif.—have made building programs in the summer months a priority to counteract the effects of "summer learning loss," which is particularly harmful to low-income students. While the stories and programs are all different, they have some commonalities: strong partnerships with local organizations...


Summer School Reform

How do you improve the quality of summer schools and make them more cost-effective, the New York Times asks seven education leaders, in a discussion posted online yesterday. It's about time and structure. To Kathleen Porter-Magee, director of the High Quality Standards Project; Pedro Noguera, professor of education at New York University; and Paul Thomas, education professor at Furman University; the answer lies in changing the school calendar, particularly with reducing what they consider to be the overly long block of time constituting summer vacation, which research has shown can significantly hinder academic gains made during the school year. While ...


Time Added vs. Time Added Well

Standardized-test scores of charter schools vs. traditional public schools recently released in Chicago had surprising results: The charter schools that had added time to their schedules did not seem to produce much higher scores than the other public schools that had a shorter school year. The news comes as the Chicago district looks to expand its school calendar this coming fall. In light of those Chicago results, an article in The Washington Independent a few days ago makes comparisons between schools nationwide that have implemented an extended learning time model and its impact on test scores. It finds an inconsistent ...


Does Summer Learning Have a Long-Term Impact?

Six school districts around the country will be expanding and enhancing their summer programs this summer with support from an initial $2.7 million grant from the Wallace Foundation, according to a report released today. The grant is part of a $50 million, five-year initiative Wallace will undertake to see whether summer programs in these districts, and possibly others, can have long term effects on summer slide for low-income students.(Wallace also underwrites coverage of extended/expanded learning in Education Week.) The districts: Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville, Fla., Pittsburgh, and Rochester, N.Y., were selected based on the existence of ...


New York Hashes Out Plan for Future Out-of-School Programs

New York City's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) recently released a concept paper summarizing its future visions and goals for new and existing out-of-school-time programs for elementary and middle school youths in the city. DYCD, which I profiled back in April, administers the various streams of funding that support New York City's youth and community programs, 485 programs to date, that serve 55,000 elementary and middle school youths. Recently, city budget cuts threatened some of these programs, but after many proponents spoke out on their importance, private donors pooled enough resources to maintain the threatened middle school ...


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