What is the origin of the Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) Program?
The Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) Program was developed in Birmingham as part of an action plan to respond to a survey of 37 Birmingham-area summer programs, conducted by the National Summer Learning Association in 2011. The SAIL Program was created to overcome summer learning loss. In the summer of 2012, a group of six Birmingham funders collaborated to launch the initial pilot projects of SAIL in their communities. In 2017, this group has grown to more than 40 funders supporting over 50 SAIL programs throughout Alabama.
What is summer learning loss?
According to the Summer Learning Association:
“Summer learning loss, the phenomenon where young people lose academic skills over the summer, is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to the high school dropout rate. For many young people, the summer ‘opportunity gap’ contributes to gaps in achievement, employment and college and career success.
- Every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Most youth lose about two months of math skills in the summer.
- These reading and math losses add up. By fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students 2½ to 3 years behind their peers.
- Research shows that while gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, the gaps widen significantly during the summer.
- Low-income youth 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.” (www.summerlearning.org)
The good news is that the effect of participation in a summer learning program can benefit the child for at least two years afterwards.