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Summer Learning Group Receives $11.5 M Grant to Provide Programs

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Some 20,000 middle school students will be able to participate in high-quality summer programs across the country over the next three summers, as a result of a $11.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to the National Summer Learning Association.

The association is allocating the grant, announced today, to four well-known extended-learning organizations to provide Smarter Summer sessions, or at least five weeks of six-hour a day programs that include academics, enrichment, recreation, and lunch. The sessions are aimed at reducing learning loss in students who are the most at risk of falling behind over the summer.

THINK Together, a California-based organization, will provide 7,000 slots in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento, Calif. Summer Advantage USA is serving 5,000 kids in Chicago and Indianapolis, and BELL will serve 8,000 in Detroit, Boston, New York, and Baltimore. Higher Achievement will provide 500 slots in Washington and Baltimore.

"We know that summer learning loss is a big factor in the achievement gap between low-income students and their middle class peers. With devastating budget cuts eliminating summer school in most districts in [California], this issue is exacerbated further," said Randy Barth, chief executive officer of THINK Together. "Thanks to this generous investment from Walmart in research-based best practice programs, a new paradigm for summer learning programs is emerging and at least several thousand students will have the opportunity for rich academic and enrichment programs this summer."

The Walmart Foundation's grant to the National Summer Learning Association is one of the largest the philanthropy has ever allocated to one organization. Walmart will also be contributing an additional $13.5 million in donations to other organizations and programs focused on reducing summer learning loss and providing high-quality programs to children.

Today, the National Summer Learning Association launched the website, www.smartersummers.org, to track students and staff in the programs for this summer over the next few summers.

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