January 13, 2021
Issue No. 31
Photo credit: ANYTOWN®, CAMP EDMO®, and Canoemobile (Excellence in Summer Learning Award-Winning Programs)

Many national education experts, including McKinsey & Company, NWEA, Education Trust, and the Century Foundation, have highlighted the urgent need for us to make Summer 2021 the most meaningful and impactful summer learning experience ever for young people in America. Our NSLA team understands this imperative and came back from the holiday break re-charged and ready to go. 
Unfortunately, like many of you, our team was alarmed, saddened, disgusted, and disappointed by last week’s attack on the US Capitol and our democracy. This heinous act forced us all to bear witness to the deep divides that still exist in our communities and our nation as a whole. Our democracy is far from perfect, but now, more than ever, we must continue to champion the principles of equity and build a more just world for our children. 
As we reflect on the event and its aftermath, we must continue to lead by example, knowing that the work we all do is part of the solution and can help close the gap between hope and reality. The children and youth we serve are the leaders of today, and we are in a position to help them heal, lead, grow, serve, and value the differences of one human race.  

During a time of isolation, anger, and pain due to COVID, racial and economic inequality, and political turmoil, summer and after school programs have the power to foster the growth and success of future civic leaders we all want to see and need to help our country and democracy heal and move forward.
Stay tuned as we unveil new resources, events, funding, and leadership opportunities to help us push our important work forward.
In partnership, 

NSLA knows last year was an exceptionally challenging season for summer learning programs. Yet, we want to acknowledge the many programs that pivoted during the crisis and found innovative ways to keep kids learning, safe, and healthy.

Complete the application to let us know about your 2020 summer program. If you could not hold your program last summer, you are welcome to apply using information from your 2019 program.

Don't miss this opportunity to shine a spotlight on all the amazing work you do for children and youth in your program. You can preview the application here.

Each award-winning program will receive:

  • $10,000 donation, supported by the New York Life Foundation;
  • National recognition at NSLA’s Summer Changes Everything™ annual conference (virtual or in-person);
  • National press and social media outreach along with promotional materials for local promotions; 
  • Connection to a network of award-winning leaders in the field and NSLA’s professional development opportunities; and more.

We hope you will apply and pass this opportunity along to your peers!
Research from the Field from the RAND Corporation
The Promise of Summer as a Time for Teacher Professional Learning
Findings from a National Survey and Implications from the BellXcel Program
Authored by Elizabeth D. Steiner, Laura Stelitano, Andy Bogart, Sophie Meyers
Helping teachers improve their instructional practice through high-quality professional learning opportunities is a key strategy for improving student academic, social, and emotional outcomes. Little is known about the professional learning activities teachers participate in over the summer.

This report begins to fill that gap by presenting data from the first nationally representative survey of teachers about their summer professional learning opportunities. Exploring the possibilities of utilizing summer as a time for teacher professional learning is imperative in the wake of the coronavirus disease, which has disrupted opportunities for school-year professional learning.

RAND's American Educator Panels provide access to nationally representative samples of K–12 teachers, principals, and district leaders. Learn more about the panels, including how you can use them for your own surveys, at the AEP website.
Start Planning for Summer Now!
During the summer, low-income students lose ground compared to their wealthier peers. But summer can also be a time to help level the playing field through high-quality, summer learning programs that research shows produce measurable benefits in math, reading, and social and emotional learning.

With more than 50, evidence-based tools and resources—drawn from the work of five urban school districts and their partners, and aligned with research from RAND—The Wallace Foundation Summer Learning Toolkit helps educators deliver programs that make a real difference.
Mizzen by Mott
The All-in-One Tool That Can Strengthen Out-of-School Time
As champions for children, we’re all on the same team. If you’re teaching, coordinating, or managing a summer or afterschool program that serves kids in grades K-12, Mizzen can help you deliver an even more meaningful learning experience. One that can change a child’s life.

Mizzen by Mott is an innovative tool designed to help you plan and deliver engaging courses, lessons, and activities. With high-quality content, organizational tools, and Pro Tips from education experts, Mizzen makes it easy for you to create exciting learning opportunities for students.

Supported by the Mott Foundation, Mizzen is available at no cost to out-of-school professionals!
Four Education Policy Tools to Use in 2021
from The Education Commission of the States
Authored by Erin Whinnery, Project Manager at Education Commission of the States

A new legislative session brings policymakers another opportunity to examine their state’s education policy landscape. How can education leaders better support students, families, and teachers in these unprecedented times? What needs can be met with policy changes? Education Commission of the States is here to support education leaders like you with four unmatched state policy resources.

The Education Commission of the States' State Education Policy Tracking database is a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive resource for education leaders looking for unique policy approaches to issues in their state. In addition to providing a summary and analysis of thousands of pieces of legislation, our State Education Policy Tracking database is useful for spotting the latest policy trends. 
NSLA Consulting Services for Partners and Programs
When kids continue learning during the summer, they are healthier, safer, and more prepared for the school year ahead.
NSLA staff and our roster of expert Field Consultants are available to help partners plan, train staff, prepare and measure effectiveness for the coming summer. NSLA can design tailored training solutions for your program in addition to these services:

Comprehensive Training

  • Program Planning – Summer Starts in September
  • Summer Program Quality Assessment
  • Summer Planning With Data
  • Coaching for Continuous Improvement in Summer Programs
  • Integrating Positive Youth Development
  • Social & Emotional Learning in the Summer and Beyond

Technical Assistance

  • QIRS Management
  • Executive Coaching
  • Programming Think Tank
  • External Program Quality Assessment
  • Research & Evaluation
NSLA seeks a Program & Systems Quality Coordinator to assist in the implementation of projects and initiatives focused on improving the quality of summer learning programs and systems.

The Coordinator plays an important role in supporting staff to ensure a seamless and coordinated approach to training and partnerships with summer programs, intermediaries, and community representatives.

Major areas of work include support and coordination of NSLA’s training development and execution, and for general administrative needs. This position may include assisting in research activities, data collection, analyzing and writing reports, and supporting logistics for staff site visits. 
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