English Parents' Committee Association (EPCA), Montreal, Quebec
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Summer school

Summer School: The Enhanced and Extended Learning Project

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Summer School Attendance as a means to enhanced and remedial education for all students. The goal is:

a) Better quality of graduate;
b) Increase the graduation rate.

As we take a look at our neighbours to the South:

“... As the final months of the 2016-17 school year unfold, the nation’s 4 million 9th graders—the Class of 2020—are entering the make-it-or-break-it final weeks of their first year of high school. And GradNation—the national campaign by America’s Promise Alliance to increase graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020—is entering its make-it-or-break-it years.

GradNation has a goal to reach 90 percent graduation.”
(https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/03/24/six-ways-to-improve-high-school-graduation.html)

... our own provincial government has a new goal:

“...Quebec seeks to curb slumping high school graduation rate
Premier Philippe Couillard wants to increase rate to 85% by
2030.”
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-education-couillard-proulx-1.4171106)

... Lester B. Pearson, our own school board as per a last year report:
“...The LBPSB recently posted a seven-year graduation and qualification rate of 87.8 per cent, which is higher than the seven-year average of public schools (74.9) and rates for all schools in the province (78.8).”
(http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/west-island-gazette/lester-b-pearson-boasts-top-public-school-graduation-rates-in-quebec)

In addition to these numerical goals, our students also face additional competition from foreign and out of province students in higher education.

So in addition to a new goal to increase the graduation rate, we also now require a qualitative factor.

In the United States some states have recognized that some of the major issues have to do with income disparity. The second is what is referred to as the summer learning loss, summer setback or summer slide.
(See report by David M Quinn AND Morgan Polikoff
https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/)

Based on the Brookings study referenced above, they found that students lost an average of about 20-30 percent over the summer. When socio economic factors are included, a gap starts to develop. While we do not have adverse socio economic factors as exists in the U.S., they do exist in our province and as such they present an impediment to our primary goals.

The solution is to use existing tools and facilities to run within our summer school project.

The Summer School Project
Common suggestions include blending academic learning with hands-on or recreational activities, professionalizing summer school staff, and forming partnerships with community organizations to leverage resources (cost as much as $1500 per student).

The Reading and Math Based Programs
READS for Summer Learning. In READS, which has been iteratively modified over several randomized trials, students receive eight books in the mail over the summer that are matched to their reading level and interests. Along with each book, students receive a tri-fold paper that leads them through a pre-reading activity and a post-reading comprehension check. Students are asked to mail the postage-prepaid tri-fold back; families receive reminders when tri-folds are not returned. (Cost as much as $700 per student.)

While investing in extensive school-based summer options may not be feasible, it may be cost-effective and strategic for School boards to begin to offer targeted out-of-school interventions to the students most at risk of backsliding. (Fusion Portal can help track certain metrics.)

Where is summer learning successful
The new term for Summer school is Summer Learning and some states have new names to change the stigma. In California it is called “Expanded Learning Strategic Plan” for enhanced student success.

Signed into law in California, in 2014, this program focuses existing resources on summer and year-round programs; requires data-driven local quality improvement plans; leverages state data systems to track outcomes; and streamlines program administration. Implementation is supported by new quality standards from the California Afterschool Network.

MASSACHUSETTS: After-School and Out-of-School Time (ASOST) Quality Enhancement Grant Program
Since 2011, the ASOST program has provided grants to enhance afterschool and summer learning programs in areas such as professional development and STEM; address barriers to participation and expand summer learning programs specifically. The program was appropriated $1.7M in 2014. (N.B.: This is the number one state in education in the US.)

Summary
Our solution identifies goals, and the reasons for this radical solution: Summer School and its new term: Enhanced and Extended Learning.

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