Subject: Woo Hoo! Exciting News from Summer Dreamers!
Hello Past Summer Dreamers Academy Activities Providers!
It may be cold outside, but the past few days have been quite busy for the Summer Dreamers team! As you hopefully saw, on Tuesday some exciting news was released related to Summer Dreamers and our participation in the Wallace Foundation's Summer Learning Demonstration Study.
The first wave of findings, looking at student performance in the fall, just after campers attended the 2013 Summer Dreamers Academy and returned to school as 4th graders, shows that children who attended SDA gained a meaningful advantage in math compared to their peers who applied but were not accepted. The impact was equal to about 20% of what 3rd grade students learn in a year! These findings were consistent across all 5 participating Districts, and we had even greater outcomes in Pittsburgh! (More about our local results will be shared on January 22nd.)
In ELA, the evaluation showed no meaningful advantage for children who attended any of the 5 district programs, based on assessment of reading comprehension and vocabulary skills; however it did identify a few key factors that correlated with positive outcomes. Specifically, grade-level teaching experience (having a Summer Dreamers teacher who had taught 3rd or 4th grade during the school year), instructional quality (as measured by an observation rubric developed by RAND), and site orderliness (having clear and effective plans for handling misbehavior, and minimizing bullying).
We're thrilled by the outcomes in math, and, while the ELA findings were initially disappointing, we are considering how we can most effectively connect our efforts with the District's early literacy work to hopefully make meaningful gains with younger students, whose fundamental reading skills are still developing. Additionally, we are looking at other local level data, including DIBELS, in hopes of gaining further insight in to potential areas of impact.
THANK YOU for your hard work and involvement in Summer Dreamers. You, along with your staff, played a key role in these results! We appreciate all that you have done to ensure that our campers benefit from a high quality summer learning experience.
You can learn more about these initial findings at www.wallacefoundation.org/readyforfall, and we look forward to the release of additional findings, including impacts on school year attendance rates, behavior, and state test scores, which will come out in the summer.
For those of you with whom we will be partnering again for 2015, I look forward to connecting with you throughout the spring as we think more deeply about how to utilize this information to further strengthen Summer Dreamers for this coming summer and beyond. In the meantime, please share this exciting news with your colleagues and staff, and feel free to reach out to me with any thoughts, questions, or ideas!