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Lessons from the Lone Star State: How Districts in Texas Are Thinking About Summer Program Sustainability

Episode 4: A Hot Time for Summer Learning
January 24, 2024
white girl and African American boy
Host & Guests

Host: Charlotte Phillips, Senior Officer, Youth Development Strategy and Operations at The Wallace Foundation 

Moderator: BiNi Coleman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 212 Catalysts

BiNi Coleman

Lisa McNeill, Accelerated Learning Program Lead at The Varnett Public School 

Lisa McNeill

Kasie Roden, Director of PK-12 STEM and My Camp Program Manager at the Grand Prairie Independent School District

Kasie Roden

We talk more about climate and culture... because we want to make sure that summer learning is an environment that people enjoy coming into. 

— Lisa McNeill

About the Episode

In the fourth episode of A Hot Time for Summer Learning, Wallace examines how Texas districts are finding ways to sustain high-quality and engaging summer learning programs in the face of funding changes. School district leaders from Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex discuss the significance of community outreach and support in promoting the need for and benefits of summer learning programs. They share how heightened public awareness and program engagement have led to an increased understanding of summer learning’s value, particularly among teachers, students and families who experienced the program and are eager to preserve it. 

The discussion explores ways programs have fostered engagement, from grassroots marketing to developing districtwide task forces dedicated to ensuring summer learning addresses student needs and interests. These endeavors have helped boost enrollment, recruit program teachers and staff, and extend program strategies beyond summer and into classrooms during the school year. 

About the Series

High-quality summer learning plays an important role in the lives of our nation’s young people. Summer learning programs can bolster academic knowledge and skills and connect young people to engaging and enriching learning experiences. In the wake of the pandemic, high-quality summer learning programming has become an essential part of children’s learning recovery and well-being. A multi-partpodcast series from The Wallace Foundation features leading field experts, researchers and practitioners who are involved in summer learning and enrichment on the national, state and local levels.  

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