by: Harold Jean-Louis
Smart Coos Launches its Summer Learning Loss Initiative
The school year has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop advancing our youth.
As you are aware, the summer is upon us, and even though Summer is synonymous with fun vacations, quality time with family and relaxation for both educators and students it also is the period that can diminish the progress educators have worked so hard to build during the school year.
The term summer learning loss has been used to explain the loss that occurs to students during the summer break. During this break, youth in low-income communities lose two to three months in reading and two months in math skills compared to higher-income peers who make slight gains. Over the years these losses continue to increase which widens the achievement gap between these groups even further.
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is a national nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing summer learning opportunities for all youth. Over the years they have partnered with the U.S Department of Education and the White House to launch Summer Opportunity Project to keep kids learning during the summer months.
Smart Coos, a language learning platform for kids and students to learn multiple languages starting as early as birth has launched its Summer Learning Loss Initiative. Starting Thursday, June 29, Smart Coos will be offering free StoryTime sessions to the public every Tuesday and Thursday for the duration of the summer. In the past, Smart Coos collaborated with public libraries to run this program. “In addition, to partnership with libraries this year we know that we can have a greater impact if we offer our program on a national level to the public,” says Mirta Desir, CEO of Smart Coos.
Smart Coos’ impact doesn’t stop there. People are aware that there are students that have to attend summer school. While there are varying reasons why a student may have to attend summer school, Smart Coos has been able to work with one subgroup, students whose home language is not English.
Throughout the 2016 school year, Smart Coos noticed the positive impact it could have by introducing its text nudge feature to educators. With this feature instructors were able to send messages to parents in English and choose which language they wanted the text to be translated to. When the parents responded in their native language the teacher received the text back in English. “This feature really made a difference in the schools we worked with so why not offer it to summer school educators for free,” says Desir, “by improving the communication between educators and the parents of the students we can create a system to reinforce the learning that the students are receiving during the summer.”
Summer learning loss is a problem that varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income. Initiatives by National Summer Learning Association with their Summer Opportunity Project and Smart Coos with their Summer Learning Loss Initiative work to minimize the achievement gap. For more information on how to take advantage of Smart Coos Summer Learning Loss Initiative for your students, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Home.” National Summer Learning Association. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 May 2017.
“Summer Opportunity Project.” National Summer Learning Association. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 May 2017.