Report: Summer students show academic gains

Washington Elementary School, one of the summer program sites. (Google Maps)

The 2018 summer learning programs served over 900 mostly black and Hispanic students according to a report presented Monday to the Evanston School District 65 School Board.

“Summer learning is about equity,” said Jamilla Pitts, summer learning coordinator. “They are designed to meet the needs of students who have shown need throughout the year,” and to prevent learning loss in the summer.

Academic programs run by the district include:

  • Extended school year programming for some special needs students
  • PreK Jumpstart program that supports students in the transition to kindergarten
  • ​Newcomers program for students new to the country
  • Middle School pre-algebra program with the goal of strengthening student readiness for success in Algebra 1

The Y Reader program, held at Washington Elementary School and Family Focus, and the Y Power Scholar program at Oakton Elementary target children in grades K-3 who are in the 20th to 50th percentile in reading. The program provides academic support in the morning by licensed District 65 teachers in the morning and enrichment activities in the afternoon.

Various summer literacy programs are offered through the District 65 Home Literacy Program, Foundation 65 Summer Reading Program and Summer Library Learning through the Evanston Public Library.

The YMCA MetaMedia Summer Experience is a free program for rising 6th graders designed to stimulate interest in entrepreneurship, invention and STEM.

The literacy programs are succeeding, said Pitts. “Of the students for whom we have data, 82 percent maintained or grew” their reading level on the Developmental Reading Assessment.

In addition, 74 percent of students enrolled in the pre-algebra course showed gains in their math scores on the Measures of Academic Progress test.

The administration recommends some changes to the program for 2019 but expects the total budget to remain consistent.

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