May 22, 2020

This week Adrian and Ethan discuss the "summer slide" and tips to prevent these losses in the wake of the pandemic. Later we listen to the second part of our interview with Communities in Schools.

We’ve talked about the Summer Slide in earlier shows.

Considerable research shows that the primary reason the achievement gap between poor children and their more affluent peers widens over the course of their school careers is the long break in learning over the summer. It's called summer slide. A recent study of children in 3rd to 5th grades showed that students lost, on average, about 20 percent of their school-year gains in reading and 27 percent of their school-year gains in math during summer break.

Although this is true for kids in general, children from low-income families are disproportionately affected by the summer slide, in ways that can affect them years into their education. Families with resources are investing more than ever in their children's educational opportunities. So they're in science camp or robotics after-school programs or violin lessons — whatever it takes.

With COVID-19, school districts around the country are looking at ways to help their students. Parents and educators across the country are trying to understand what damage is being caused by what for many will be a months-long learning loss—or, at the least, reduced learning.

Communities in Schools is the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. The organization works directly in 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The founder, Bill Milliken, said “It's relationships, not programs, that change children.”

UPDATE: During a normal academic year, 22 million students rely on schools for access to regular meals. Now with students out of the classroom, Communities In Schools affiliates across the country are working with community partners to provide food and essential items to those students and their families. Their volunteers and site coordinators are packing baskets of food, delivering items to families, and working with local organizations to obtain necessities for those in need.

In an earlier interview, Bev had the opportunity to talk with Natalie Rutledge, Executive Director of Communities in Schools, Marietta.

Let's listen to Part 2 of that interview...