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Mayor Megan Barry and Metro Action To Celebrate the Importance of Summer Learning

7/12/2016
Lisa McCrady, (615) 566-4710 or (615) 862-8860, Ext. 70144

Nashville, TN – The city of Nashville in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), will highlight the importance of summer learning opportunities on Thursday at 11:30am at the Knowledge Academies at the Crossings in Antioch.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will visit youth of the Metropolitan Action Commission’s Youth Technology Summer camp as they showcase their technology expertise in graphic design, computer hardware, coding and animation.

The event is part of National Summer Learning Day, an advocacy day led by NSLA to elevate the importance of keeping kids learning, safe, and healthy every summer. In addition to Summer Learning Day, NSLA is partnering with the White House for the Summer Opportunity Project, an unprecedented multi-agency initiative designed to give young people access to their ‘First Job,’ and encourage investment in programs supporting summer learning and meals for America’s young people in the summer.

Metro Action is this year’s lead agency coordinating the city’s Summer Learning Day celebration. The camp, which provides hands on experience in the field of technology for area youth from low-income families, is a free 8-week technology camp. Metro Action utilized federal funding to cover the cost of the program as well as provide each youth an $800 attendance stipend over the course of the program. Metro Action partnered with the Nashville Technology Council for coordinating daily technology instruction and weekly field trips to area technology companies and departments.

Laptops for each student are made possible through the Nashville Digital Inclusion Fund. Free breakfast and lunch meals are made possible through Metro Action’s Summer Food Service Program, federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Knowledge Academies at the Crossings and Ben Freeland of Freeland Chevrolet provided the space and technical assistance for the campers.

“Summer Learning Day is an annual reminder that summer matters and if we want our kids to do well in the school year ahead, our communities need to ensure students get the supports and services they need to continue growing and thriving over the summer,” said Dr. Cynthia Croom, Metro Action Executive Director. “We are dedicated to supporting student achievement throughout the summer and our celebration on Thursday marks our commitment to that goal.”

Research shows that summers without quality learning opportunities put our nation’s youth at risk for falling behind – year after year – in core subjects like math and reading. The math and reading skills low-income students lose each summer are cumulative and contribute significantly to the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income kids. A survey performed by NSLA, indicated that two-thirds of teachers said they spend at least a month re-teaching students old material when they return from summer vacation.

Low-income youth also lose access to healthy meals over the summer. Six out of every seven students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out. And, research shows that children gain weight twice as fast over the summer compared to during the school year. Moreover, a lack of opportunity for meaningful mentorship and work experience prevents many older youth from successfully completing high school and entering post-secondary education or careers.

“Many kinds of high-quality learning opportunities during the summer can make a difference in keeping young people on track for success,” said Sarah Pitcock, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, “these opportunities can be found in schools and community organizations, including local libraries and museums, and in businesses, colleges and community colleges. Families play a critical role in nurturing a joy of learning at home with their kids”

NSLA is encouraging communities to put their events and programs on an interactive map at www.SummerLearning.org so that families can find summer learning opportunities in their community.

The National Summer Learning Association is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works, offers expertise and support for programs and communities, and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.