Why Summer School Is Important

School's out for many children in California, but that doesn't mean learning has to stop.

A new statewide campaign is working to combat the summer brain drain and expand access to high quality summer learning opportunities.

Jennifer Peck is campaign co-chair of Summer Matters, the first ever statewide campaign focused on creating and expanding access to summer learning opportunities for all California students. She says the phenomenon of summer learning loss has been documented for about 100 years.

"It makes perfect sense when you think about it -- if you're not practicing and reinforcing the things that you learn, you can forget."

Peck says summer learning loss has been found to be a huge contributor to the achievement gap and the high school drop out rate. A recent study found students taking part in summer learning programs substantially increased their academic and social skills.

The study -- Summer Matters: How Summer Learning Strengthens Students' Success -- also found the students improved their work habits and became more confident in their ability to learn. Students who attended summer school ended the summer with vocabulary skills much closer to their grade level.

Peck says summer learning loss is particularly dangerous for low-income students.

"Families cannot afford to be putting them in summer camp," she says. "You know, science camp, all sorts of enrichment programs where they are reinforcing their skills..."

Students from across the state, educators, and lawmakers gathered at the state capitol on Thursday to celebrate National Summer Learning Day and bring awareness to the benefit of summer learning programs.

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