A Summer of Learning for Our Most Vulnerable Students
In March 2020, K-12 schools in LA County had to quickly transition 70,000 teachers and 1.5 million students to online platforms for remote learning. This disruption to traditional schooling worsened long-time equity gaps along racial and socioeconomic lines for the County’s young people.
As the historic 2020 school year ended, there was an urgent need for summertime learning to mitigate potential learning loss and to address the social-emotional needs of youth that were likely to compound and accelerate under the unusual circumstances of COVID-19.
In response, the California Community Foundation in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and The Greater LA Education Foundation, launched the LA County Summer Learning Initiative to support extended summer learning for over 50,000 low-income and vulnerable youth. 55 organizations (18 schools/districts and 37 nonprofit organizations) received $1.4 million in funding.
Grants also helped teachers, instructors and organizations adapt to online learning, providing them access to training and technology to create more engaging educational environments.
With the pivot to online learning, the organizations not only adapted to provide educational programs, but they also expanded the types of services offered to students and their families who were struggling with unemployment, lack of technology, food insecurity and COVID-19 related illness.
In a report evaluating the effectiveness of the Summer Learning Initiative, organizations reported high success rates in achieving their goals-despite the many challenges of the pandemic. Eighty percent reported increasing or maintaining academic progress to combat summer learning loss.
The California Community Foundation in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and The Greater LA Education Foundation, and with the generous support of donors and philanthropic partners, launched the Los Angeles County Summer Learning Initiative to support extended learning opportunities for low-income and vulnerable youth in the summer of 2020.
Sixty-five percent of the organizations were also able to support the well-being of the students through creative online wellness programs and informal check-in chats.
As we prepare for a second consecutive summer with very limited in-person schooling or service options—the needs of our students have only grown. Even as high-needs public schools begin a phased reopening in late-Spring 2021, there will be immense deferred and unmet student needs as well as opportunities to support the patchwork of re-opening efforts in most efficienct, equitable ways possible.
CCF will re-launch the Summer Learning Initiative for 2021, building on lessons from 2020. We ask you to join us to strengthen the availability of summer programs this year again and to invest in the most adversely affected communities and in the learning and wellness needs of this impacted generation.
PHOTO CREDIT: Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena