Ready for Fall? Boston’s Lessons in Summer Learning

Guest post by Chris Smith

When it comes to paving a pathway to graduation, Boston has a lot to celebrate. This year, Boston cut the annual high school drop-out rate by one-third. It now stands at a historic low of 4.5 percent. Boston has also increased college graduation rates from 35% to nearly 50%. Despite this progress, many of Boston’s youth remain unprepared to navigate the challenges of college and careers. In particular, low-income students still remain at a substantial disadvantage in terms of entering, persisting, and completing a post-secondary credential.

Many studies suggest that the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers is explained largely by unequal access to learning opportunities beyond the school day. Amidst growing recognition of the opportunity gap and increased understanding of how skills contribute to student success, the city began to explore some critical questions: Can Boston successfully attract large numbers of low-income students to participate in voluntary summer programs? And more importantly, can high-quality summer learning help improve educational outcomes for at-risk youth? Continue reading