July 13 is a national advocacy day aimed at elevating the importance of keeping kids learning, healthy and safe while out of school. Here are five ways your city can promote its summer programs — plus a playbook and a few ideas from other cities.
While the summer months mean fun in the sun and no homework, all that learning accomplished during the school year has the potential to be abandoned as fast as winter coats. Families face the annual stress of making sure their kids have a healthy and safe summer while avoiding the dreaded “Summer Slide,” the documented learning loss children face when not engaged during extended out-of-school time.
For many families, affordable summer programs and childcare are not always easy to come by, and the absence of these opportunities ushers in a loss of academic skills and higher crime rates. National Summer Learning Day, July 13, offers elected officials an opportunity to highlight affordable summer programs as healthy and safe solutions to families looking to keep their children on the path to success.
Data show 51 percent of families not participating in a summer program say they would if one was available. In many cities, affordable city-sponsored programs are available — residents are just not hearing about them. In the most recent National League of Cities (NLC) Mayors Survey, 40 percent of municipal leaders say their cities have dedicated funding for summer learning programs.
In order to help cities strengthen their summer learning programs and make sure families are aware of the opportunities offered for their children, NLC and the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recently released the latest Summer Playbook for Elected Officials, which highlights findings, research and action steps cities can take on Summer Learning Day to promote local programs.
Summer Learning Day is a great way to let your city’s residents know about the opportunities you have to offer, as well as how these programs contribute to the success of children in your community. Here are five things you can do on July 13 to promote your programs and get families the information they need:
- Proclaim Summer Learning Day in your community. Download this sample proclamation and make it count on July 13 by publicly reflecting on the importance of keeping youth in your city learning, safe and healthy every summer.
- Spread the word and promote your community’s summer learning, jobs and meals resources to families. Take it to social media, message boards, your local press, neighborhood newsletters, etc. — wherever you can, highlight the selection of summer learning opportunities available.
- Institute Flashback Fridays: share a summer memory on your city’s social media accounts using the hashtag #KeepKidsLearning. Social media is a powerful tool to not only to share but to inform — bonus points if you are able to get families to share what their children are up to this summer.
- Download and distribute NSLA’s family tip sheets. From Tips to Keep Tweens and Teens Learning During the Summer to the Top Ten Easy Summer Learning Tips for Parents, NSLA has created cheat sheets for families to institute practical ways to resist the “Summer Slide.”
- Set a goal for your city to make positive change for kids and register your event(s) on NSLA’s event calendar. This easy database pinpoints what’s going on in and around your community regarding summer learning events. Register your event and score a place on the map.
Don’t miss this opportunity to put your summer programs in the spotlight — like countless other cities across the nation, we’re sure your city has exciting activities to offer youth during the summer. Here’s what some your fellow cities are highlighting on July 13:
- Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center is hosting hip hop, jazz and R&B intensive music and dance classes throughout June and July for middle and high school students
- The Scholastic Summer Reading Trip encourages families in Plainville, Massachusetts, and Mystic, Connecticut, to participate in their “pop-up” reading festivals
- THINK Together’s partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History brings elementary school students to the museum to focus on arts, literacy and STEM topics
- Casper, Wyoming’s Science Zone is hosting “STEM on a Stick” at a local fairground, featuring hands-on science and engineering exhibits
Cities can register their events and opportunities all summer long with the Summer Learning Day Map tool. We’re excited to hear how your city celebrates Summer Learning Day!
To connect with NLC on summer learning efforts, contact Bela Shah Spooner at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author: Indira Jimenez is the communications associate in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.