This 90-page report is all about best practices for planning and staffing your summer program. The nice part about this report is that the RAND Corporation made sure to summarize the report’s recommendations within the first 16 pages. Although the recommendations are great, you may want to read through the rest of the report to see how researchers came to those recommendations. Each person and program will have their own take-aways, but here are ten things that stand out.
Start planning early and no later than January for a smoother running summer program.
Dedicate a director to manage the summer programs and engage all levels of staff in the planning process.
Put in place a continuous improvement process so that you can measure the effectiveness of your program year after year and make tweaks where needed.
Advertise the benefits that prior summer program teachers have experienced to encourage promising teachers to apply.
In order to achieve academic improvement for students over the summer, programs should include 90 minutes or more of math instruction and 120 minutes or more of language arts instruction per day. At the end of the program, students should have received 25 hours of math and 34 hours of ELA instruction.
Create a strong attendance policy – students who attend at least 20 days over the course of the summer program should see academic benefits.
Make sure that the curriculum chosen for your summer program is best suited to teach in a short amount of time with a small group of students (15 students or less).
To save money, work with district curriculum designers to develop additional lessons for a five- or six-week summer program by extending the school-year curricula.
Have fun enrichment activities planned to keep the fun in summer but make sure to include enrichment teachers in training on behavior management strategies and keep classes small (15 students or less).
Create and maintain a positive summer climate that is enjoyable both to staff and students alike.
The second tool featured in NAA’s article was the Summer Learning Toolkit in which the Wallace Foundation mapped RAND’s findings from the “Getting to Work on Summer Learning” report. This toolkit features 50 different tools in the following categories: Planning and Management, Academics and Enrichment, Staffing and Professional Development, Site Climate, and Student Recruitment and Attendance. Even if you have been running a successful summer program for years, you may find that some of these tools are helpful and can help you take your program to the next level.
Planning a summer program is hard work. It’s no easy task to plan staffing, curriculum, sites, schedules, and student recruitment. Let researchers with the RAND Corporation and the Wallace Foundation help make it a little easier. Let Eleyo help make the registration, invoicing, attendance, and reporting easier for your summer program.