Partnership with Children Selected as Part of NYC Summer Quest
Partnership with Children was recently selected in collaboration with the South Bronx Academy for Applied Media (SBAM) to participate in “NYC Summer Quest”, a three year pilot program established by the NYC Department of Education (DOE) to combat summer learning loss. The selection process was very competitive with 11 partnerships being selected out of 45 applications.
Summer learning loss is defined as the lost knowledge students experience over the summer months due to a lack of structured educational programming. Studies have found that summer learning loss contributes to the achievement gap between low and high income students. While most students lose an average of two months of mathematical computation skills over the summer, low income students, in addition, lose more than 2 months of reading achievement, while their middle class peers make slight gains in reading achievement. The increasing gap between higher and lower income students can be explained partially by unequal access to summer learning opportunities, which may hamper a lower income student’s ability to graduate or attend college.
The NYC DOE has partnered with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and The Fund for Public Schools to develop a 5 week summer learning program that will deliver engaging hands-on enrichment opportunities for students. Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the NYC DOE mentioned at a meeting on May 4, 2012, that the NYC DOE is excited to join other urban school districts in addressing summer learning loss. At one point he mentioned being at a conference last year with other education leaders and being “embarrassed” that NYC was at the time not doing anything to combat summer learning loss, despite the compelling research and innovation in other cities.
NYC Summer Quest is designed to meet their needs and interests of students, in addition to aligning with the DOE curriculum standards. The program will be piloted in the South Bronx, where the need is the highest. Partnership with Children will be working with SBAM to develop a joint curriculum for 120 students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. The full day program will run July 9–August 10, from 8am to 6pm daily. For the first half of the day, students will work with a teacher and Partnership with Children social worker in an academic enrichment setting to strengthen their education. The afternoons will be run solely by Partnership staff, where students will apply their knowledge through off site field trips, media literacy and projects that align with NYS social studies standards. As SBAM focuses on new media, students will learn about film making and apply what they have learned over the past 5 weeks to create their own short documentaries. At the end of the program, parents and families will be invited to view these documentaries at a Film Festival.
NYC Summer Quest hopes to prevent summer learning loss and promote summer learning gain that will help to narrow the achievement gap. Pending the pilot’s success the DOE hopes to roll the program out not only in other boroughs, but in traditional summer school programs as well, bringing innovation in building student proficiency.