Well, that’s a wrap on Summer 2018. My summer was filled with road trips, hiking, reading, sunshine, family and friends. I enjoyed many, many wonderful moments, but now it is time to gear up for another school year. Today I was back in the classroom rearranging desks, sorting books, writing lesson plans, and basically getting the classroom and myself ready to welcome a new batch of students for the coming school year. I loved seeing many students on campus today while they picked up their class schedules, and I was happy to chat with them as they stopped in to say hello and tell me about their summer adventures. We all agreed that summer vacation flew on by! This year will mark my twenty-second year of teaching. All I can say is, “Where in the world does the time go?!?”
Back to School and Up to Speed
STEMming the tide of summer learning loss
Yes, kids are heading back to class for the new school year, but will your child be up to speed with his or her peers? Or, will the summer “brain drain” have taken its toll?
Just how bad is the summer slide? On average, students lose the equivalent of one month’s worth of learning over the summer. It’s more pronounced for math than for reading, and it gets worse as students get older. What’s more, family income influences the severity of summer learning loss, with middle class students actually improving in reading, while lower income children fall behind.
One explanation is the so-called “faucet theory,” which suggests that the “resource faucet” is on during the school year, providing easy access to educational tools for students of all backgrounds and income levels. In summer, the faucet remains open to higher-income children, but the faucet slows to a trickle, if at all, to disadvantaged kids.
According to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), roughly 43 million kids miss out on the types of summer learning activities that could keep them from falling behind when school resumes. And because summer learning loss is cumulative, low-income children continue to fall behind with each successive summer, ultimately impacting whether they graduate. BGCA attributes more than half of the achievement gap to this uneven access to educational opportunities during the summer.
BGCA is doing something about it by engaging young minds all summer long. And with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – or STEM – emerging as a critical component of children’s education, the organization uses the summertime to develop greater mastery in digital literacy, with offerings like computer science and media making, along with leadership, visual arts and lyricism. They have partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal to develop the innovative digital platform called My.Future, which gives students their own, safe place to share and interact online, free from cyberbullying. My.Future helps students explore activities like digital gaming and earn recognition for their achievements with stars, badges and master badges.
Clearly, with programs like this, students who might otherwise fall behind now have a chance at a brighter future. And isn’t that what every parent wants for their children? As a teacher and parent, I know that it is what I want for all children.
Thank you to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% honest & completely my own. #BGCAsummerlearning #ComcastMyFuture #summerlearningloss #summerslide