News Updates

FSHD Education Program Helps Prevent ‘Summer Slide’ in Grades

Published on June 13th, 2014

Most Americans know about the “summer slide” which describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months. Less well known is the fact that summer break hits low-income kids the hardest: these youngsters actually lose at least two months in reading and math achievement, while their middle-class peers make slight gains. In fact, more than half of the achievement gap between lower-income and middle-class youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, poor children are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.

During the summer, the Margaret Donnelly O’Connor Education Center at Ethel R. Lawrence Homes runs a six-week enrichment program that seeks to ensure academic continuity during the summer months. Mornings are centered around literacy and math games and afternoons involve arts and crafts and science experiments as well as field trips to nature preserves/gardens, art and science museums, sporting events, and animal farms or zoos. Last year, the children learned how to build remote-operated vehicles during a special STEM class that was taught by Maureen Barrett, a local middle-school teacher who generously donated her time to our children. This year, we will host coding classes and continue our digital storytelling program.

What we are doing must be working: the high school graduation rate for the children who attend our summer enrichment program and/or homework club is a stunning 97 percent!

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