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Three 'Superhero' Superintendents Honored for Supporting Summer Learning

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A California-based advocacy group that works to create and expand access to high-quality summer learning opportunities recently recognized three superintendents across the state for their work to do the same.

Summer Matters presented its Summer Matters Superhero Award to Superintendents Deborah A. Flores of Gilroy Unified School District; Richard Martinez of Pomona Unified School District; and William McCoy of Sausalito Marin City School District during the California School Board Association's annual education conference.

The Summer Matters Superhero Award is designed to shine a spotlight on efforts by superintendents who work to provide quality programs that help children from low-income communities avoid summer learning loss.

"We have found that when the superintendents really step up and make this a priority and invest in it, we also see other progress at school sites and other partners coming to the table, and in some cases, cities coming to the table as well," said Jennifer Peck, the co-chair of the California Summer Matters campaign and the president and CEO of the Partnership for Children & Youth.

Peck said support from superintendents became even more vital after California adopted local control funding giving districts more flexibility around how to spend state resources.

"School superintendents are absolutely critical if we're going to make sure that we're seeing more investment from those local control dollars as well as other flexible dollars that they have at their disposal like Title I, which is a great source of funding for summer programs," said Peck.

All three of the honorees have been recognized several times in the past for their work to improve the lives of students.

Martinez has been praised by President Obama for his digital learning initiatives. McCoy has been working in education for more than 20 years and was asked to serve on the Governor's Select Committee for Expanding Student Success. He was also recognized by the White House as a "Champion for Change." Flores has more than 40 years of experience in education and was named the Santa Clara County and California Superintendent of the Year in 2016 by the Association of California State Administrators.

In an email, Flores said that she's seen a real change in her district's students since the district implemented a Summer Matters program eight years ago.

"Through our Super Power Summer Camp, we have had the opportunity to make learning fun, exciting, and engaging in a way that motivates students to become lifelong learners," she wrote. "Traditional summer school programs have typically been remedial in nature, shorter in duration, are not as engaging and stimulating, and don't yield the kind of results we have seen in our summer learning program."


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