Local education leaders have spent years tracking data and searching for an antidote for summer learning loss. It’s well known that without ongoing opportunities to learn, kids fall behind academically over the summer months. This occurrence has been termed “summer slide.”
Last winter, our partners at Education for Change identified a unique program to help combat this negative trend and it was tested this past summer through a new partnership between Springboard Collaborative, Education for Change and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD). The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is thrilled with the outstanding results of the summer program pilot that included literacy instruction, family engagement, teacher professional development and coaching. We think Oakland is narrowing in on a solution to combat summer slide and asked Springboard Collaborative, the Philadelphia-based organization who led the pilot, to share in their own words what transpired this past summer.
Alejandro Gac-Artigas, CEO & Founder, Springboard Collaborative
Through investments from the OUSD, Education for Change, the Rogers Family Foundation and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation—in conjunction with startup capital from The GreenLight Fund—Springboard Collaborative was able to extend its impact to the Bay Area by offering summer literacy programming in four school communities. Students from kindergarten through third grade and their parents benefited from our summer program and workshops.
The prospect of operating in a new region 3,000 miles away from headquarters was, frankly, terrifying for Springboard. From the very start, though, Oakland schools, funders, and community members embraced our partnership with reassuring enthusiasm. This dedication quickly began yielding results.
In just five weeks, the Springboard Summer program shrunk the grade-level performance gap by an astonishing average of 45% for participating Oakland scholars. The graph below shows students’ reading progress relative to grade-level expectations.
Progress Toward Grade-Level Reading
- Enrollment: 497 Oakland children and their families participated.
- Attendance: Every school averaged 90%+ daily student attendance, which is especially exciting during the summer months.
- Reading growth: Every school exceeded their goal of replacing the typical 3-month summer regression with a 2.5-month reading gain. Oakland students averaged 3.4 months of growth! On a comprehensive 100-point kindergarten readiness assessment, Pre-k students averaged a 27-point gain.
- Family engagement: Started with home visits to every family. Weekly workshops training parents to teach reading at home averaged 94% attendance. Oakland families proved themselves enthusiastic and effective literacy coaches; Springboard enables schools to harness this potential.
- Staff development: 32 Oakland teachers completed 10 hours of professional development and a five-week coaching cycle, improving in data-driven literacy instruction and effective parent engagement.
Springboard assesses much of our impact quantitatively. We always remember, though, that every pixel in every graph represents a person: a child, parent or teacher whose life is impacted by this work. Click on the infographic on the right to see our 2015 results and experience the stories behind the statistics.
In Oakland, less than 40% of low-income children are reading proficiently by fourth grade. We view this as an opportunity as much as it is a challenge. Our optimism comes from our perspective that parents’ love for their children is the greatest and most underutilized natural resource in education.
Springboard plans to grow deeper in Oakland, more than doubling the number of students and families we support. Our work, as always, will focus on helping school communities get more from the people and assets they already have: their teachers, families, readers, and resources. We are grateful to have the Rainin Foundation’s ongoing support as we do our part to help realize the city’s vision for third grade reading proficiency.
Top Photo: Courtesy Springboard Collaborative
About the Author
Alejandro Gac-Artigas, CEO & Founder of Springboard Collaborative, is a first grade teacher turned entrepreneur. His passion for education—ignited when his family immigrated to the U.S. seeking educational opportunity—led him to the classroom. His frustration with a system disserving his students led him to found Springboard in 2011. Alejandro was since honored as ‘one of the world’s best emerging social innovators’ by Echoing Green, a leading impact investor that selected 20 startups from 3,500 global applicants. He was also named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 and recognized as one of two national recipients of the Claneil Emerging Leaders Fund.