An effort is underway Tuesday in Dallas to draw on lessons learned to help set students up for success during the summer months.
The educational nonprofit Big Thought will host a Dallas City of Learning State of Summer event on Tuesday with Dallas ISD, the City of Dallas, and SMU’s Center on Research and Evaluation.
The event will focus on key learnings from the DFW-based out-of-school program in 2021, which was the second year educators and students were navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In summer 2021, more than 21,455 students accessed Dallas City of Learning programs for more than 121,900 cumulative learning hours.
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"It is possible to stunt the summer slide," said Big Thought President and CEO Byron Sanders. "Not only can experiences in the summer bridge learning, they can build 21st-century learning skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, understanding the digital world, social and emotional skills and emotional intelligence."
Sanders the experience last summer taught them how what happens in the summer months is critical to helping children bounce back from two years of learning losses brought on by the pandemic.
"We are pushing for and highly recommend that people look for in-person programming. We've done a lot online. For in-person programming, we know that the learning is deepened. We know that relationships happen there. So, if we're going to bounce back, we are encouraging families to look for and there will be options, many more options, we're expecting for in-person programming," Sanders said.
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And those free options will come from Dallas City of Learning, a program focused on the whole child and the whole year to help stem learning loss and empower youth to learn the skills and qualities that will empower them to succeed in the CreatEconomy.
The citywide initiative to ensure all students have access to high-quality summer learning programs. Together with the City of Dallas, Dallas ISD and more than 700 community partners, we connect students to the city’s most valuable out-of-school time resources. Dallas City of Learning is a public-private partnership that was launched in 2014.
The State of Summer event will feature a panel of thought leaders who will discuss their insights on how we can recover from the past two years of learning loss and bounce back to prepare our youth to succeed in the 21st century.
● Chike Aguh, Chief Innovation Officer - U.S. Department of Labor
● Jennifer Chandler, Dallas President & Head of Philanthropic Solutions - Bank of America
● Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent - Dallas ISD
● Chequan Lewis, Chief Operations Officer - Pizza Hut U.S.
● Byron Sanders, President & Chief Executive Officer - Big Thought
● Nina Vaca, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman - Pinnacle Group and Dallas’ First Entrepreneur-in-Residence
And along with all the talk comes a call of action for parents.
"it's game time, and game time means we've been in the lab the last couple of years. We've been innovating in the middle of the least ideal circumstances for helping young people continue along their learning journeys but now what we're saying and what we're asking is for families to engage. Our partners have taken significant precautions to make sure that coming back out is safe," Sanders said. "The thing we're asking people to do, the call to action is to come out this summer. We're asking for people to enroll. We're asking for your trust quite frankly that we have learned over the last several months that we know how to take care of your young people."