CPN Students Beat the Summer Slide

Written by Tami Barlow

On September 1, 2016

Charleston Promise Neighborhood: Summer 2016 Programming

Mary Ford 21st Century 2016 Summer Enrichment and First Grade Reading Enrichment

Summer learning loss is an epidemic in which students lose academic skills during the break from school, and begin the new school year at a disadvantage. In addition to the immediate effects of this issue, the summer learning loss phenomenon is one of the largest contributing factors to high school dropout rates, which in turn ultimately affects employment opportunities, as well as college and career success. Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) recognizes summer learning loss as an issue that is prevalent across our schools, and therefore bolstered our summer program at Mary Ford Elementary with additional supports to address summer learning loss in literacy. In partnership with Metanoia’s Freedom School, CPN provided certified teachers, curriculum, and materials to implement a program for Kindergarten through fifth-graders that focused on literacy skills. Additionally, CPN provided resources for a separate program, specifically focusing on 13 high-risk first-graders. Students participating in both programs were wildly successful, with most of them advancing their reading abilities by summer’s end.

The two six-week summer intensives were evaluated using data from test scores that were recorded at the beginning of the summer, and in comparison to test scores at the completion of the program, every single student made gains or maintained their reading levels. Comparing these results to those of students with the same socio-economic backgrounds, our students successfully prevented summer learning loss in literacy. These strides forward were made with an 83% average attendance rating ( a significant increase from the previous year), and even greater progress could be achieved if every student were able to attend every day for the six-week duration.

Analyzing data results from the 21st Century Summer Enrichment program, CPN discovered:

  • Kindergarteners averaged a 3-point gain per student, 4 students finished on a second grade reading level
  • First graders averaged a 3.83-point gain per student, and 3 out of 4 made gains in literacy levels
  • Second graders included two students who made 10 point gains, and all but one finished at or above grade reading level
  • 18 out of 27 third, fourth, and fifth graders tested as fluent readers by the end of the program
  • The first grade intensive garnered a 6-point average gain per student, and all but one read at or above grade-level by the end of the program

Certified teachers were present in every classroom, and facilitated the remediation through structured lessons, strategic activities, and tracking the data via pre-and post-assessment scores. In response to the success of the 21st Century Summer Enrichment program, one teacher said, “The group settings are small, so students get one-on-one time, and get to work together as a team which promotes social skills and teamwork”.

The students not only made strides in literacy achievement, they were additionally able to work on these important 21st Century Learning Skills as well. One first-grade teacher said, “[One of my students] said that he had a more enjoyable time reading the more difficult books. I think all of the students enjoyed coming to the reading class, even if reading was not their favorite activity”. The program also proved to help build the love of reading into students, which is a vital component of fostering a life-long love of learning.

Overall, the programs both proved to be fruitful, with every student participating making gains or maintaining their reading levels. Charleston Promise Neighborhood, in collaboration with Metanoia’s Freedom School, successfully prevented summer learning loss in 71 students. Using the data collected from a successful pilot program, we are looking forward to a bright Summer 2017 for even greater gains in even more students.


Charleston promise NeighborhoodSummer Program at mary ford