Summer Slide - Challenge Map
Challenge Map


Summer Slide

The Challenge

Many districts are striving to minimize or diminish students’ summer learning loss. Teachers may need to spend valuable time reviewing in order to to catch students up at the beginning of each school year, which can inhibit students ability to progress and move forward. Many district leaders aspire to provide summer programming to maintain students’ knowledge and skills, but adequate funding opportunities are lacking. To work around funding challenges, some schools’ summer learning programs are exclusively for under-resourced students who are eligible for Title I federal support.

In the Words of District Leaders

The summer loss that we experience with our kids is a real factor in students progressing because we feel like we are always having to go back and re-teach and regroup, especially after our kids are off for three months.

“We do not have any [programs or initiatives to address summer slidebecause we sadly have no funding for that…That would be a huge value that we would be able to provide a type of summer camp or summer services for kids just to help them maintain status quo. And we wouldn’t have to restart, so to speak, the following year. That is a huge desire for our school district.”

Ideas from the Field

  • Increasing learning time throughout the year, by providing after school learning programs, is one approach underway to help mitigate summer slide.
  • Summer is also seen as a time to offer real-world learning opportunities, with one district growing their summer school program from 3,000 to 12,000 students with a partner experience every week in each elementary classroom.


Check out the following research-based resources for more information about summer slide:

Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it? – From Brookings, this report reviews what is known about summer loss and offers suggestions for districts and states looking to combat the problem.

Summer Learning Loss: What We Know and What We’re Learning – From NWEA, this blog shares current knowledge about summer learning loss and significant gaps in existing research about the phenomenon.

National Summer Learning Association Knowledge Center – The NSLA knowledge center links to over 100 resources related to K12 summer learning.

Reduce summer learning loss by moving to a year round calendar – Unlocking Time provides this actionable “Strategy in Action” showing how districts can shift to year-round education, includes additional articles and research and an assessment.

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