Three Ways Federal Rescue Funds Can Boost Summer Learning Programs

  1. Commit Funding. While many districts are funding summer programs through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), paying for staff, student materials, transportation and other costs can limit program scope. Cities can defray these costs by using their SLFRF allocation. This funding stream is designed to help state and local governments across the country to support their response to and recovery from COVID-19. Summer learning is a critical academic recovery strategy for districts, and cities can help their residents by financially supporting summer programming.
  2. Provide Staff. Staffing summer programs is a struggle. Teachers are describing the past three years as “the hardest they’ve ever faced” and there is a national shortage of education personnel. Cities can alleviate the staffing squeeze by creating enrichment opportunities that are fully staffed by city personnel so that districts only need to manage academic staffing. If a district is struggling to recruit enough personnel on their own, they can leverage city communication systems to recruit personnel from their community. Cities could also run dedicated volunteer campaigns to encourage local businesses and individuals to dedicate a portion of their summer to support students in summer programming.
  3. Bring the Fun! School districts are well-equipped to create and develop academic programs for students. But, summer still needs to have plenty of fun enrichment opportunities! Students are more likely to engage and participate when they have exciting enrichment activities to complement their academic work. Recreation Departments can run afternoon camps across the city for students to attend. City officials could convene and coordinate local Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to provide programs that complement what school districts are doing. Programming needs to spark student interest and keep them coming back every day.

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Results for America

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