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The National Summer Learning Project

School districts have long thought of summer as a time for remedial work. But summertime can be used to do more: closing both the opportunity and academic achievement gaps.
Afterschool sailing program in the Boston Harbor with elementary school students

What we did

Summer can offer children opportunities for enrichment and sharpening of academic skills. Children from families experiencing poverty, however, often lack such experiences. School districts working with community organizations could change this.

The National Summer Learning Project had two aims:

  • Help five school districts to shape and run high-quality summer programs for thousands of children
  • See how to carry out effective programs and whether they affect academics and other areas

The free programs included a mix of academics and enrichment. They were offered five days a week for five to six weeks.

What we learned

The RAND Corp. carried out research in three phases:

  • 2011-2012: Evaluation of district programs and feedback to strengthen them
  • 2013-2015: Outcomes for 3,192 rising fourth graders selected to take part in the programs compared with outcomes for similar students who had not been selected
  • 2017: Examination of whether outcomes had lasted.

Our Grantee Partners

The Boston Public Schools

Dallas Independent School District

Duval County Public Schools

Pittsburgh School District

Rochester City School District


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