Year-Round Learning: Linking School, Afterschool, and Summer Learning to Support Student Success

Release Date: June 27, 2011
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On June 24th, the Harvard Family Research Project released a report highlighting the benefits of 14 year-round innovative school programs that "demonstrated success in providing quality learning opportunities for youth," including CDF's Freedom Schools program. Year-round schooling for CDF Freedom Schools program helps poor children, particularly children of color close the achievement gap and stay in the cradle to college. This study explores the year-round school model and the role it has played in changing the way young people in distressed areas connect with education.

According the study, "Family involvement also helps to create consistency and reinforce learning and developmental messages across learning contexts (in school, in afterschool and summer programs, and at home). One program in fact tells families, 'We don't enroll a student, we enroll the family.' The CDF Freedom Schools' family involvement strategy is a good example of a year-round effort to strengthen families, youth, and their communities. The CDF program sites regularly engage families in meetings and offer workshops on topics such as financial planning and literacy, book clubs, and support groups that meet community needs." Community development and engagement play key roles in year-long programs and as the study finds, "it supports positive youth outcomes, develops continuous learning pathways, and provides equitable opportunities for both students and families." The Children's Defense Fund Freedom Schools program will serve nearly 10,000 children this summer in 87 cities in 27 states. Click here to download full study.