Summer and Out-of-School Time

Summer learning and out-of-school time (OST) programs are an important way to make up for lost instructional time, build relationships between students and teachers, engage the whole family and community, increase opportunities and address inequities, and prepare students and families for the next school year. Access resources on high-interest topics to plan your strategy, partnership, or program.

 

Bright Ideas Across the Network

Facets of Sustainability for Summer and Afterschool Programs

Learn more about the Summer and Afterschool CoP as they deep dive into their sustainability frame, supported by the largest and most definitive study of district summer learning to date, to share ways to keep summer and afterschool education and enrichment programs thriving.

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Out-of-School Programs Help Teens Transition to Careers

Did you know 3 out of 10 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither working nor in school? In this tabletop discussion, a team of experts examined out-of-school programs that offer opportunities for career exploration and work-based learning for teens.

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Partnership for Family Engagement in High-Needs Communities

Watch this webinar to learn how the Hillsboro School District developed partnerships in high-needs communities. Hear from community members and educators working together to support and lift their schools and students.

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Getting Oriented to Accelerating Learning through Summer and OST

Below you will find research evidence and other helpful resources to orient you to this topic.

Use the navigation on the left to take a deeper dive.

Research Evidence and Policy 

Multiple studies have documented the benefits of summer learning and OST programs. Studies show that effective summer programs: are voluntary; operate a full-day and last five to six weeks; include three hours of language arts and mathematics taught by a certified teacher each day; and include enrichment activities and experiences.

CCNetwork Resources

The National Center Presents: Making Summer a Successful and Sustainable Strategy for Student Growth

The National Center Presents… is a webinar series created to build awareness and knowledge among states and districts around high-leverage challenges, common needs, and evidence-based strategies and solutions related to focus topics. This series aims to support states and districts to build their awareness and knowledge around evidence-based strategies and solutions to address high-leverage challenges and common needs.

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After Action Reviews for Summer Learning Programs
This guide, developed by the National Comprehensive Center, gives users the steps and content to conduct an After Action Review (AAR) about summer learning programs. An AAR can assist schools and districts to identify the lessons learned from previous summer and extended learning programs, as well as from current attempts at providing hybrid and remote learning. These lessons can then inform strategies for learning recovery to implement during the school year and subsequent summers.

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Advocating for Native Students: A Learning and Programming Toolkit

The National Comprehensive Center created this toolkit to support State Education Agencies (SEAs), Local Education Agencies (LEAs), and Tribal Education Departments (TEDs) when developing learning and programming that will advance education for Native students. The toolkit provides considerations and guidance for SEAs, LEAs, and TEDs to use when planning, implementing, and evaluating programming for Native students. SEAs, LEAs and TEDs should use the information in the toolkit in collaboration with each other to help ensure successful and effective programming for Native students.

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School-Community Partnerships

Partnerships between schools and community-based organizations are an effective way to provide students with access to high-quality OST academics and enrichment.  Successful partnerships feature an inclusive and cohesive planning team, including principals, that is dedicated to creating an integrated program and maximizing funding and staffing.

Tips

Communication, accountability and transparency are essential. When defining your vision for partnership, discuss whether it will include: 

  • Shared professional development
  • Delivery of wrap around services and youth enrichment
  • Space sharing to expand opportunities for learning and engagement
  • Shared staff to maximize capacity and tap into different expertise
  • Coordinated services to meet youth and families’ economic, health, food, and other needs

CCNetwork Resources

Building School-Community Partnerships To Advance Equity
In this session, presenters examined efforts to advance equity through community partnerships for summer learning and enrichment. Presenters describe different strategies for involving youth and families in the planning process and partnering with city officials to support children in the afterschool and summer hours.

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Meeting Whole Student And Family Needs Through Collaborative Partnerships At School
Learn how two organizations established a partnership to provide students and families with wraparound services to support student achievement. These organizations offered mental health supports, out-of-school time programming, and services specifically aimed at promoting community well-being.

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In It Together: Maximizing Partnerships Between Education And Workforce To Support High School Students
Our presenters from the Department of Labor described how the youth-targeted funding programs work and what specific services and supports are available. Opportunities include paid and unpaid work, apprenticeships, tutoring, occupational training and much more. Partnerships are critical in this work and you’ll learn about core and additional partner programs.

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Creating A Collaborative Site Climate
Learn the ingredients that contribute to a supportive climate for students of different ages and who have had varied experiences with schooling.

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Creating Authentic Partnerships With Historically Marginalized Families And Communities
Hear about strategies that can be used to reflect on the White-dominant cultural norms that often drive family and community engagement strategies and think about what changes are needed to create authentic opportunities for partnership with historically marginalized populations, both during the summer and into next school year.

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Working With Parent Centers To Engage Families Of Students With Disabilities In Summer Learning And Enrichment Programs
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports a national network of parent centers that work with families of children with disabilities. Hear advice from three different centers about supporting families for summer and out-of-school learning. Learn about the many resources available through the parent centers.

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Strengthening Year-Round Out-Of-School Programming
This session provided ideas on how to “build back better.” Presenters shared resources and practical ideas to capitalize on this summer’s partnerships to improve and expand out-of-school programming as students return to formal schooling. Whether you are from a community organization or school district, you will learn from communities that are working to make the most of summer learning as they plan for a comprehensive out-of-school experience in the coming year.

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Establishing Data Sharing Agreements Between Community Based Organizations And Schools
Learn from the experiences of state, district and community leaders how to develop effective agreements. The Boys and Girls Clubs have been working on crafting state-level and local agreements for building cooperation for the purpose of data and information sharing.

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Learning and Enrichment Strategies

By studying the characteristics of successful summer learning programs, researchers have identified a number of evidence-based practices in program design and delivery. 

Tips

  • Adapt summer instructional materials before distributing to teachers so that lesson plans fit the amount of instructional time available
  • Meet student needs
  • Align to school-year standards
  • Provide strategies for differentiation, including lesson plans and activities for students who need more practice and those who need more advanced material
  • Encourage instructional leaders to observe instruction and provide real-time feedback

 

CCNetwork Resources

Summer Programming And Resources For Families To Prepare Young Children For Success In Early Education
Two initiatives were presented that support young children’s learning and readiness for literacy success. Big Lift provides high-quality preschool followed by “inspiring summers” programming and family engagement initiatives. Michigan’s family engagement framework increases families’ capacities to engage effectively in literacy activities with PreK through grade 3 children.

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Powerful Interventions: The Evidence For Incorporating High-Dosage Tutoring In Summer Programs
Presenters highlighted the evidence-based characteristics of tutoring programs that can be the key to accelerating learning and describe how different programs have been able to achieve strong results. Learn about incorporating tutoring within summer programming as well as stand-alone programs and practical tips for locating and training staff, incentivizing participation, scheduling, and identifying materials.

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Vacation Academies: High Power Learning In Short Time Blocks
Even after summer sessions come to a close, the need for learning acceleration will continue. Short-term “vacation” academies are a learning recovery strategy that has shown positive literacy and math results. This session presents the evidence along with practical advice for engineering successful experiences.

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Summertime Arts Learning For Prek-12 Students
States, districts and their partners have the opportunity to use funds to provide access to skills and content areas like arts education that enable students to explore their passions and interests. Hear from practitioners about successful strategies and resources to increase access and equity in the arts.

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Attracting and Supporting Staff

Just like during the school year, the quality and characteristics of staff in OST programs impact student outcomes and experiences. OST programs can be a pathway to diversify the pool of educators who work with students. 

Tips

  • Recruit and retain a mix of staff who are connected to the local community and local schools
  • Employ current and aspiring classroom teachers, youth development professionals, and community members with content expertise
  • Encourage all staff to participate in the same training and professional development
  • Ensure consistent, high-quality engagement with young people
  • Consider incentives to help educators maintain their energy and enthusiasm

CCNetwork Resources

Collaborating To Staff Summer Learning Programs: Leveraging Partnerships
This video discussion focuses on establishing holistic partnerships to address summer staffing needs and to develop lasting community ecosystems.

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Working Together: Recruiting, Training And Supporting Staff Members For Impactful Summer Learning
The Pittsburgh team shared what they have learned about building an effective staff structure for summer services, including sharing professional development plans and training resources. They addressed recruitment for summer jobs and describe how they built a collaborative of over 70 organizations and individuals.

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Addressing a Range of Student Needs

Summer learning and OST leaders should plan and implement academic and enrichment programs adapted to varying learning needs and educational circumstances.  

 

Tips

  • Meet the social and emotional needs of all learners
  • Cultivate a positive learning climate
  • Ensure that all students have a “friend from day one” in the program
  • Design activities to build meaningful connections among students and/or between students and staff
  • Consider programs that prioritize specific populations, such as English learners, rural learners, and students with disabilities
     

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Supporting Vulnerable Students Through Multiagency Coordination
District and school leaders discussed how they have worked with local agencies to support students who have faced significant disruptions to their education, such as homelessness, foster care placement, or incarceration. Presenters described strategies to address the challenges vulnerable students face as a result of the pandemic and how they plan to continue supporting students during the school year.

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Serving Students With Moderate And Severe Disabilities In Summer Programs
This Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports several technical assistance centers that are charged with supporting education for children with moderate or severe disabilities. Representatives from two centers offer strategies to assist summer and out-of-school programs in becoming more inclusive.

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Addressing Students’ Social Emotional And Mental Health Needs
Presenters in this session discussed how the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu partnered with a local district and college to develop a social and emotional learning course to support students’ long-term mental health. Learn how this four-unit course integrated multi-tiered systems of supports in local schools and hear about plans to expand the program nationally.

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Supporting All Students: Best Practices For Engaging And Serving Older, High School Youth This Summer
This session discussed strategies for successfully engaging older youth in summer programs. Presenters from national, state and local organizations described how their programs provided summer opportunities to older youth through partnerships, project-based learning, and training programs that prepare the youth for the workforce.

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Tailoring Supports For Rural & Tribal Youth
In this session, presenters discussed out-of-school time programming in rural and tribal areas including the provision of enrichment experiences, meals, and wraparound services to students and families. Learn how the Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been helping youth on Native lands achieve academic success through afterschool homework help, summer learning activities, and by providing technological supports to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Culturally Responsive Instruction for Native American Students
This video introduces culturally responsive instruction and explains why it's critical for the academic success of Native American students.

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Student Recruitment and Attendance

High attendance in summer learning programs leads to measurable benefits in math and reading for students.  First communicate with families about program offerings that appeal to their needs and interests. A thoughtful marketing and recruitment strategy, with a continued emphasis on attendance, will benefit students the most.

 

Tips

  • Involve key stakeholders (principals, teachers, youth, and families) in the planning process
  • Seek understanding of stakeholders needs and interests
  • Develop an intentional recruitment strategy
  • Use aspirational messaging to highlight the features of the program
  • Communicate about how students will benefit
     

CCNetwork Resources

Keep Them Coming: Attendance As The Key To Summer Learning
Learn strategies for maximizing student attendance: setting expectations, communicating with families, creating incentives, setting up tracking systems.

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Reaching The Hard-To-Reach: Engaging Homeless Children And Families In Summer Programs
In this discussion, presenters examined the details of the American Rescue Plan funds appropriated specifically to identify homeless youth and to ensure their attendance and participation in school activities. Take a deeper look into the timeline and requirements for the first and second disbursement of funds for state and local education agencies.

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Finance and Budgeting

Careful resource planning and allocation ensures that summer and afterschool programs are spending funds on the things that matter the most.

Tips

  • Commit to a multi-year funding plan to avoid a fiscal cliff for OST programs
  • Consider the total of ARP funds to be disbursed through 2024
  • Implement a step-down funding model each year
  • Use the cost-per-student per-hour calculation to assess various program delivery models
  • Dedicate sufficient resources to ensure quality and fidelity

CCNetwork Resources

Maximizing Effective Use Of Fiscal Resources
Multi-year spending plans, targeted investments, and equitable fund distribution are a few of the principles shared by presenters in this session focused on the American Recue Plan. Discover the importance of engaging principals, school boards, and communities in early planning for this unprecedented level of funding.

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Linking Spending With Outcomes For Summer And Beyond
Learn about strategies for connecting spending and student outcomes throughout the investment lifecycle from planning to evaluation. Participants explored how summer investments are meeting or perhaps falling short of intended goals and how to shape future investments. You'll also hear tips for communicating about finances in ways that build trust and strengthen outcomes. Participants explored how Summer Learning and Enrichment investments are (or maybe falling short of) meeting intended goals and how to shape future investments. Importantly, Dr. Roza shared tips for how to communicate about finances and spending in ways that build trust and help this money matter more.

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