The science behind summer learning is not new – engaging students in learning programs over the summer helps to combat the “summer slide” regression in learning that many students experience during the break. But for the summer of 2021, summer learning is particularly important as students are facing not only a “summer slide” but a “COVID slide” as well.
During the summer of 2020, Elevate Tuscaloosa funding allowed Tuscaloosa City Schools to provide virtual summer learning classes for an additional 435 elementary school students, nearly doubling elementary school-aged summer learning participation for the year.
For 2021, when summer learning is more important than ever, TCS will provide 14 school-based summer learning programs which will:
Serve all 12 elementary schools and over 2,000 elementary students,
Serve 750 middle and high school students,
Support over 200 jobs for the month of June; and
Address the needs of families in Tuscaloosa in which parents and guardians do not have flexible work schedules.
Elevate Tuscaloosa funding is directed toward summer programming for elementary-aged children, which national research suggests is the most critical age range. Additionally, with the help of Elevate Tuscaloosa funding, Tuscaloosa City Schools (TCS) has launched an innovative program to connect as many Tuscaloosa students to summer learning as possible. MySummerLearning.com is a community-wide summer learning portal that Tuscaloosa parents can use for free to search for a summer learning program that is the best fit for their family and their children.
Both school- and community-based programs can add information for free about their summer learning programs to the portal, creating a one-stop shop for parents to find information about different types of community learning programs available in Tuscaloosa.
TCS expects around 64% of all of their kindergarten to third grade students will participate in the school system’s summer learning academy. The goal behind the portal is to encourage as many additional families as possible to participate in community-based programs.
The City school system has been working on the summer learning initiative in Tuscaloosa since 2017. Knowing that students are more likely to actively participate in activities that are fun and engaging, TCS has designed their Summer Learning Program to be high-interest and high-impact, providing teachers an opportunity to design innovative and creative ways of learning for their students.
When the City passed Elevate Tuscaloosa in 2019, Mayor Walt Maddox identified summer learning as a priority for education funding.
“The evidence is straightforward,” Mayor Maddox says. “If you provide students with six more weeks of school with a qualified teacher in a results-based program, we can mitigate summer learning loss and target students who need additional enrichment to get them on grade level. This sets our children on a trajectory to achieve the success that they deserve.”
“Summer learning changes everything for our students,” Andrew Maxey, Director of Strategic Initiatives for TCS says. “With the help of Elevate funding, Tuscaloosa City Schools has made summer learning a priority. The additional funding has allowed us to explore innovative approaches to connecting as many students with summer learning programs as possible.”
Community organizations with summer learning programs can still add their 2021 program information to the portal at no cost. Visit mysummerlearning.com/programs/partners to learn more.