It’s a perplexing problem; American students have the longest summer break of any industrialized country. Summertime parental stress is on the rise while kids’ learning retention is decreasing. Studies show that students lose the knowledge equivalent of one month of instruction per year because of summer learning loss. Yet large-scale solutions evade American schools, teachers, and parents.
Exacerbating Achievement Gaps
While summer learning loss is a reality for students across the board (with learning loss increasing in higher grade levels), the problem is even worse for kids from less-privileged backgrounds. By ninth grade, accumulated summer reading losses accounted for two-thirds of the reading achievement gap between low-income children and middle-income children, one Johns Hopkins study found. It’s enough to make the founder and CEO of the National Summer Learning Association declare summer “the most unequal time in America.”
It’s critical, especially for lower-income parents, to understand the phenomenon of summer learning loss. This appreciation gives parents the opportunity to bridge the gap by taking advantage of summer programs. Even simple, independent, at-home reading programs make an impact. Ellie Mitchell, executive director at Maryland Out of School Time, indicates that lack of demand is part of the problem. “There’s still a huge gap in afterschool demand and summer programming demand. We know we’re not anywhere near scale on getting young people access to those programs,” she’s reported as saying in U.S. News & World Report.
No Time for Tolerance
Most parents wouldn’t stand for a problem in the classroom poking holes in their kids’ ability to learn. Yet we tolerate proven learning loss that comes from not being in school for months every year. School-based summer school programs exist, but they vary in their effectiveness. While summer programming advocates are doing great work outside the classroom at the grassroots level, those solutions are still being tested. We are a long way from nationwide implementation of a proven solution, and parents need alternatives now.
Supplemental Enrichment Stops the Summer Slide!
Fortunately for the parents of the 1.1 million students in America’s largest school system (NYCDOE), organizations like FasTracKids are working to fill the need for high-quality, proven summer learning experiences right here in New York City. With 1-on-1 private tutoring and group class options, as well as 12 NYC learning centers, there’s a convenient and affordable option for every family. Thanks to our hands-on, interactive teaching style that takes advantage of kids’ natural curiosity, students can continue to build on in-school progress instead of losing it – in a fun atmosphere that still feels like summer vacation!
Summer STEM Learning Options in NYC
Another aspect of the summer slide is that losses are more significant in math than in reading — particularly frustrating to attempts at improving STEM programming. FasTracKids enrichment programs cover math, reading, and writing, with a particular emphasis on STE(A)M enrichment from preschool through 5th grade. If you want to ensure your child not only retains his or her in-school instruction, but also goes on learning throughout the break, cure the summer slide with a Summer STE(A)M Adventure, Academic Bootcamp, Gifted & Talented Test Prep, or Summer Math or Reading & Writing Tutoring and Enrichment. Contact FasTracKids NY for a Placement Evaluation today.