Leadership Message

A recent page one story in The New York Times (July 2, 2009) explored the national trend of school districts cutting back on, or totally eliminating, summer programs. The headlines read “Facing Deficits, Some States Cut Summer School” and “Students Left at Home.” The article cited sweeping cuts in summer programs in several states, including Florida, North Carolina, Delaware, California and Washington, and observed that these cuts are having a disproportionate impact on low-income parents, many of whom rely on summer school and other organized programs for child care while they are at work during July and August.


National News    Summertime means leadership development, fun and learning — if you have the good fortune to be a teenager in the near-Westside of Indianapolis, where the award winning George Washington Community High School (GWCHS) runs an innovative summer leadership program known as the Hub Club.

Local News    For over 17 years, neutralizing summer learning-loss while offering opportunities for constructive fun has been the main goal of The Children’s Aid Society’s summer camps. Research shows that students across classes experience some sort of learning shortfall if not exposed to enriching activities during this long break; the harm to lower-income students is even greater, as they lose on average 2.6 months in literacy and math level. The cumulative effect of this drop accounts for the widening the achievement gap between lower-income students and their more affluent counterparts. Quality summer enrichment can help prevent the summer slide for all students, but particularly for those from underprivileged backgrounds.

Facts    Two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).