Look to experienced summer learning programs when it comes to COVID recovery

Summer learning has never mattered more than it does right now. During a challenging year of remote learning, students faced increased mental health stress, higher rates of absenteeism, and disengagement in school. Teachers also experienced fatigue as they navigated the remote, hybrid, and in-person learning environments that were in a constant state of flux. Innovative and impactful summer learning programs will reverse the fatigue, energizing both students and teachers. Yet, with summer fast-approaching, plans for schools to support students through summer learning remain in limbo. Let’s remedy this situation.

Funding for summer is available at unprecedented levels through the American Rescue Plan. Signaling the importance of summer learning, the Department of Education also recently announced its National Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative. All of this has left districts and schools scrambling to put something in place for the summer of 2020. Yet, a recent analysis of 100 large and urban school districts found that more than half have not yet shared any information about their summer plans.

This is our moment to step up.

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Horizons is Ready to Support Students

In a year of interrupted, inconsistent, and often virtual learning, when a majority of students didn't have the same access to resources such as laptops and WiFi, COVID-19 only further illuminated opportunity gaps that have always existed, and these barriers disproportionately impacted communities of color.

With the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan and the inclusion of the Summer Learning & Enrichment Collaborative, there is a record amount of funding available for learning recovery. However, we need to ensure this funding does not go to waste and that it intentionally addresses learning gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. This means prioritizing existing programs like Horizons that are ready to support students' recovery, not just this summer but over the long-term.

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