Summer learning programs
- Increased academic instruction as well as athletic and artistic activities for students
- Typically operate 4–8 hours per day, four or five days a week
- Provide support and reinforcement for academic skills or help prevent their attrition over summer break
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
All school-aged children
Estimated $7-19 per student per hour
Outcomes and impact
- Increased academic achievement
- Improvements in social and emotional competencies
- Several studies have shown significant gains for students in math and reading when attending summer programs focused on these skills
- Longer duration programs with well-trained and evaluated staff typically yield more positive results
Keys to successful implementation
- Conduct thorough planning well in advance of the summer. Planning should begin no later than January.
- Identify a dedicated director to plan the summer program. This person should be able to dedicate at least half their time to the program.
- Set the number of summer teachers with a realistic expectation that a significant portion of initial enrollees will not attend the program.
- Set clear student eligibility guidelines for the program. Some summer programs are designed for all students, while others are open only to certain student groups, like ELL students.
- Operate the program for five to six weeks with three to four hours of academics per day.
- Hire summer teachers based on merit, motivation, and grade-level experience. Be mindful to hire staff with experience providing for students with special needs.
- Establish a clear attendance policy, setting the expectation that students should attend every day. Expectations should be no different from the regular school year.