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Summer learning programs can benefit low-income students, study finds

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“Elementary school students with high levels of attendance in voluntary summer learning programs — defined as at least 20 days of a five- to six-week program — experienced benefits in math and reading, according to new RAND Corporation findings from the largest research study ever conducted on summer learning. The $50 million National Summer Learning Project, funded by The Wallace Foundation since 2011, seeks to find out whether and how voluntary summer programs can help low-income students succeed in school. Summer is a time when low-income students lose ground relative to their wealthier peers, but it also holds promise as a time to improve outcomes for them by providing additional opportunities for academics and enrichment.”(more)

Summer learning loss widens the achievement gap. Here’s how to change that

The Hechinger Report – William Whitaker

“Most students celebrate being out of school for the summer, but hitting pause on learning and structure for just a few months can have big consequences. Evidence shows that high-quality summer learning programs set students up for success in school, in college, and in life. This is especially true for low –income, minority students. Investing in our children’s education and safety should include providing smarter summers. For many D.C.-area students and families, summer learning programs are a luxury that’s out of reach. After schools close in June, parents struggle with finding safe, affordable ways to keep their children engaged. Consider that in D.C., a family with two school-age children can expect to pay an average $2,597 per month for child care, according to calculations from the Economic Policy Institute. Summer camps can also pose a significant financial burden.”(more)

Showing girls the way to careers in STEM

The Miami Herald – Christina Veiga

“Yoldine Nicoleau stuffed a strawberry into a Ziploc bag and smashed it to a pulp. As about 20 other girls joined in, the science lab quickly filled with the sweet smell of fresh fruit and the sound of fists pounding on tables. This is what it takes to extract DNA from grocery store items. It’s also getting girls interested in what science looks, smells and sounds like. “This is fun for me,” said Nicoleau, a rising junior at Miami-Dade’s School for Advanced Studies. “I feel comfortable. I enjoy it. I’m around people who understand me.” For a week this summer, a group of young women from across Miami-Dade County got a hands-on introduction to working in STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. They were all selected for Columbia University’s highly competitive Girls in STEM program. The goal: to help more women break through gender barriers in the often male-dominated world of STEM.”(more)

5 ways to engage students in real coding this summer (hint: it’s not by playing Minecraft)

E-School News – Nick Winter

“A coding expert shares how to get students truly invested in computer science that goes beyond drag and drop. Teaching students how to code software is one of the most valuable skills you can give them, and will virtually guarantee them employment once they’re in the workforce. According to the US Department of Labor, the median pay for a software developer in 2015 was $100,690, and the growth in available positions is expected to be 17 percent during the period 2014-2024 (more than twice the average growth rate across all occupations).”(more)

25 Activities to Keep Kids’ Brains Active in Summer

Education World – Cara Bafile

“As students set out on summer adventures, send their parents a much-needed “life preserver” — a list of 25 activities to share and enjoy with their children. These fun activities cover all subjects and grades; there truly is something for everyone. And, if you have your own summer adventurers at home, this list can rescue your kids from the boredom and blahs of rainy summer days. This year, do more than amuse and entertain your kids and hope for the best for your students, keep their minds working all summer long!.”(more)

Summertime play enhances school year learning

Faribault Daily News – Gloria Olson

“Signed the kids up for lots of activities this summer? Driving them here and there for sports, lessons and other structured activities? Good for you … maybe. Just so you leave plenty of time for play. The most ambitious research study ever confirms the importance of physical activity for brain health, especially the thinking skills that most affect academic performance. It’s even been shown that math and reading test scores rise when children go for a brisk walk beforehand. Sports teams can provide some of that physical activity as long as there’s not too much prescribed play and bench time. But old-fashioned running, jumping, chasing and similar free-time activities have the most benefit.”(more)