BOOST Greenville launches summer learning awareness campaign

07/12/2016

BOOST Greenville is partnering with Greenville County Schools and a host of summer programs this month to emphasize the importance of summer learning and raise awareness about the loss in academic progress known as “summer slide.”

To combat the slide, organizations across Greenville County are coming together to promote summer learning through an advocacy campaign highlighting how local programs are keeping kids learning, safe and healthy during the summer.

Research dating back over the past 100 years confirms the phenomenon known as the summer slide. Most teachers spend at least five to six weeks at the beginning of the school year re-teaching the previous year’s material to get students back up to grade level. According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, while better-off and disadvantaged students make similar gains in achievement during the school year, disadvantaged youth lose more than two months of academic progress in reading during the summer while their middle-class peers make slight gains.

The long-term effects are even more staggering. By the end of fifth grade, low-income children are up to three grade levels behind their more affluent peers, which eventually creates a snowball effect.  A child’s summer learning experiences during his or her elementary school years can ultimately determine whether or not that child earns a high school diploma and continues on to college.

However, low-income children who participate in high-quality educational summer programs have been shown to virtually eliminate this summer slide and may even gain academic ground. In addition to academic enrichment, summer programs can offer children exposure to new people and places and help them build the 21st century skills (also called “social-emotional learning”) that have been linked to college and career readiness and long-term success.

Over 1,600 students are currently participating in the summer camps at 14 elementary schools in Greenville County. Curriculum focuses on academic enrichment in reading and math, and includes a variety of fun activities and field trips across South Carolina.

“Greenville County Schools is very proud that our summer learning programs for elementary school students have grown exponentially this year,” said Executive Director of Academic Innovation and Technology Jeff McCoy. “Our results from last summer showed that almost 95 percent of students were able to maintain their reading levels and their math fluency skills increased by 23 percent in only four weeks. These students were fortunate and did not experience the summer loss that affects many students who do not participate in summer learning opportunities.”

BOOST Greenville, a strategic initiative of United Way of Greenville County, is encouraging individuals, schools, and organizations to help promote the value of high-quality summer programs and showcase how these programs are mitigating summer slide through a social media campaign and video competition. Children participating in a diverse range of summer learning programs are asked to create short videos based on the theme “Show Me What You’re Learning.”

Program providers will post the videos on social media and the public will choose their favorites based on viewing popularity. All eligible participating programs will receive complimentary tickets to the Children’s Museum of the Upstate or Roper Mountain Science Center for summer field trips. Winners will be announced July 26 on Facebook and will receive prizes.

For information about ways to keep your children engaged in summer learning at home and for more information about summer programs in the Greenville area, visit boostgreenville.org or call 864-331-3857.

About BOOST

BOOST Greenville (Building Opportunities in Out of School Time) is a strategic initiative of United Way of Greenville County that works to ensure that all children benefit from high-quality afterschool and summer programs to improve their chances for long-term success.