A study by Brookings Education concludes that “on average, students’ achievement scores decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-learning”. In addition, students in grades 2 through 9 lose about 25-30 percent of their school-year learning.
When asked about the main goal of Summer Scholars, Piccola, our Volunteer Coordinator, had a difficult time thinking of just one, but settled on the importance of offering summer education. “A lot of communities don’t have access to summer reading or things along those lines through their school. We’re really trying to offer our students the chance to keep up with what they have learned so they can go back to school and confidentently progress to the next level”.
The week long curriculum of Summer Scholars gives the kids in the community a chance to review what they have learned from the past school year while also sticking with lessons to prepare them for their next grade level. Each day, students are taught lessons from four subject categories including Math, Literacy, Social Studies, and Science.
At the start of each day, Tonya, our Program Coordinator, reminds the kids of the classroom rules and many got excited to show her what they remembered from the day before. Site Coordinator Devin then leads a daily devotional before the kids are divided into color groups based on their previously completed grade level.
This year our volunteers came from the Young Men’s Service League of Lake Travis. The opportunity to bond with and learn from older kids, like those from YMSL, is so important. The volunteers joined the kids on teams where they went through every activity and lesson together. Each team even chanted their team name as they cycled through the learning stations. This friendly expression of team spirit filled the classrooms with excitement and positive attitudes.
Since it is summer and free time is so important to these kiddos, Summer Scholars tries to keep them active outside the formal classroom setting. “When kids hear something summer-related tied to academics they dread it” says Program Director Michelle, “so we want them to know we hear them and we value their time, but we also value what they’ve learned”.
The kids are kept busy and interested through craft visuals and interactive activities, but Michelle makes sure to remind them that there’s no pressure. “We don’t want them to feel anxious and we want them to know they aren’t being graded or judged on performance here, but rather to teach them in a way where we say look, we’re having fun”.
We’re hoping we’ll have even more students join us next summer and that the kids will head into the school year with proof that learning can be fun!
Join us in serving our Side by Side Kids students by getting involved! Check out our Job Openings to learn more about our open positions.