Newark Summer Learning
What are the target goals?
Newark, N.J. has emerged as a national leader in the summer learning movement which seeks to serve children and youth at risk of learning losses during summer months when schools are not in session. Summer programs provide young people, especially those from low-income families, with an opportunity to level the academic playing field.
The Newark Youth Policy Board brings city agencies and community partners together to explore comprehensive policy solutions to complex youth issues. The findings of a community assessment led the Board subsequently to create the Summer Learning Work Group. This group identified key priorities for expanding access to summer programs and summer meals in the city, improving program quality and fostering an awareness of the "summer slide" among parents and families. These key priorities are reflected in the city's summer learning action plan, Community Assessment of Newark, NJ, which was presented in 2014.
Who are the partners?
Local officials have worked closely with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), community leaders and key local partners including The Prudential Foundation, the Victoria Foundation and the United Way of Essex and West Hudson to increase access to quality local summer programs for the city's youth.
The Summer Learning Work Group includes representatives of local foundations, the city, the Workforce Investment Board, the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition, local universities and nonprofits, the United Way of Essex and West Hudson and court representatives. The work group has become the leading venue for Newark's city agencies, local providers and other community partners to coordinate and collaborate in the summer space
When was the program launched?
Local officials completed a communitywide assessment of existing summer programs in 2010. Also in 2010, the Victoria Foundation and The Prudential Foundation worked with NSLA to conduct a scan of the summer learning programs and opportunities available to school-age children in Newark during that year and the following year. NSLA presented initial analysis of this data to the Newark Youth Policy Board in February 2013.
In summer 2014, Newark Public Schools launched a revamped summer program, Summer Plus, which connects academic instruction by district teachers with enrichment activities led by community-based partners at school sites enrolling 4,000 youth throughout the city.
In addition, the Victoria Foundation and Prudential Foundation have committed to building an out-of-school time network for summer and school year programs that would coordinate funding and provide capacity building and technical assistance for providers.
On April 15, 2015, the Statewide Mayoral Summit was held in Newark. The summit focused on the importance of afterschool and expanded learning time programming.
Bela Shah Spooner
Program Manager, Afterschool Initiative
Last updated July 2015