Afterschool & Summer Learning
Providing high-quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities that build off the school day and year can help reduce the achievement gap, provide enrichment and promote students’ success. California has one of the highest participation rates in the country in afterschool programs, serving around 1.7 million low- income children. Still, 49% of students who could benefit continue to lack access to state funded afterschool.
Children whose families can’t afford summer learning programs lose some of the knowledge and skills acquired during the school year. By ninth grade this accumulated loss accounts for nearly two-thirds of the achievement gap, putting low-income kids, English learners and students of color substantially behind their peers. Expanded learning can help change this disturbing trend; for example, quality summer programs targeted to low-income kids have been shown to help reduce the achievement gap between them and more affluent students.
Quality afterschool programs can also support learning in the classroom. In an evaluation of the School-Based After School Partnership in the Oakland Unified School District, 90% of students reported that they were getting help with homework and learning time-management skills. Students who participated in the San Diego After School Regional Consortium also demonstrated significant benefits. They were 80% less likely to be chronically absent than their peers, and 72% of them reported that the programs helped them perform better in school. In addition, 74% of parents said programs promoted positive behavior. Investing in quality afterschool and summer learning programs promotes kids’ success in and out of the classroom.
Pro-Kid® Policy Agenda
California should continue to build and sustain proven afterschool and summer programs, so all children have access to these valuable expanded learning opportunities. State and local communities should work to link the traditional school day with expanded learning programs.
California has the largest publicly funded afterschool system in the country, which gives many California students access to learning opportunities that extend beyond the school day. But the state isn’t serving all the kids who could benefit most. To increase access to quality programs, the California Department of Education’s Expanded Learning Time strategic plan creates a roadmap for the state and program providers. This multi-year effort aims to improve quality by creating a coordinated system of support, and by providing clear guidance on quality standards and program requirements.