Closing the Gap with Summer Learning Opportunities

Achievement gaps are truly profound between students in middle-class homes and their peers in households with fewer resources. This video, produced by Horizons National to promote summer learning initiatives, provides a compelling and simplified look at how these gaps begin before Kindergarten and continue to widen — largely because of learning loss in the summer.

Many resources are available in Alabama, giving free or low-cost opportunities to extend summer learning to those who may otherwise not have access. It is incumbent upon parents and caregivers to encourage continuous summer learning activities for the children in their care, but some need help getting connected to the available opportunities.

As mentioned in the last issue of A+ Alabama’s Education News, ALSDE launched its “Summer Reading Challenge” and provides numerous online resources for parents, teachers and students. This state-hosted webpage contains links to help find books by interest, grade level, and accelerated-reader level. Visitors to the page can also locate a local public library, and connect with summer tutors for kids struggling to read at their appropriate grade level.

A+ College Ready has teamed up with Impact Alabama to offer 3 week Summer Advanced Placement Institutes in Birmingham, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa as a part of Impact Alabama’s CollegeFirst initiative.

This third annual summer enrichment program is specifically designed to prepare students for rigorous Advanced Placement courses, primarily in English, Math and Science. Three Universities serve as host sites for CollegeFirst, which is sponsored by Boeing, Wells Fargo and Maynard, Cooper & Gale.

The Huntsville Times quotes one of the 110 students participating in the program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; “I know AP is going to be hard, and I don’t want to take it again in college,” said Jenny Parker, a high school senior who plans to enter pharmacy school in college.

Listed below are more online, local and statewide resources for fun, educational activities; age-appropriate reading lists for students; academic, athletic and fine arts camps; and many helpful articles for parents, caregivers and summer tutors.

This is not an all-inclusive list. Research other opportunities by contacting your local county board of education. Click here to access the ALSDE system directory.