Summer: A Time to Learn

Last weekend The New York Times reported that many school districts across the country are beginning to re-envisioning summertime as an opportunity for cultural enrichment and new, more engaging instructional methods.  Here’s the story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/education/at-retooled-summer-schools-creativity-not-just-catch-up.html?hp

This trend is encouraging, given the mounting evidence that the achievement gap between high- and low-income students widens significantly during the summer break.

We certainly can't begrudge affluent parents paying for European vacations, summer camps, tutors or music lessons.  However, if we’re serious about leveling the playing field, we need to increase opportunities – either through school districts or nonprofit organizations – to give low-income students the kinds of experiences that not only prevent academic backsliding over the summer, but promote intellectual growth.

At Breakthrough New York, our six-week summer program for low-income, high-potential middle school students includes rigorous academic work, enrichment electives, and socio-emotional learning under the guidance of college students who are teachers and mentors.  By providing the kind of resources that many affluent children receive as a matter of course, we’ve been able to send 100% of our students to college.