U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. will visit the Higher Achievement Summer Academy program at Achievement Prep Academy in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 6, to tour the school and discuss with students the importance of ensuring all students have access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. Higher Achievement is a year-round, multi-year academic mentoring program for middle school students in the fifth- through eighth-grade, working to close the achievement gap in Baltimore, D.C., Pittsburgh, and Richmond, Virginia.
Over the summer months, some students experience a slide in learning that can contribute to gaps in achievement, employment, and college and career success, especially for low-income students who lose access to critical supports that keep them safe, healthy, and engaged during the school year. Research shows most students lose two months of math skills every summer, and low-income children typically lose an additional two to three months in reading.
The event is part of the Obama Administration’s Summer Opportunity Project, and the first of multiple events the Education Department will host as part of an Administration-wide effort to help youth during the summer. The project is a multi-agency effort in partnership with the National Summer Learning Association and other collaborators to support communities and increase the percentage of youth in evidence-based programs, decrease the percentage of youth experiencing violence over the summer, and support young people getting their first job.
In further support of these activities, the Department has launched a Summer Learning Portal with access to additional resources and tools to help communities design and implement effective summer learning programs. Summer opportunities have been shown to divert youth from criminal involvement and reduce overall violence, and they also offer a chance for young people to get their first exposure to the workplace and build financial skills that they can build on throughout their lives. But these benefits are only possible if young people can find those opportunities.