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Summer program students gained critical reading and math skills in 2023

On average, SAIL students gained 3.1 months in math and 1.9 months in reading.


A new review found students enrolled in high-quality, community-based summer learning programs supported by Alabama’s Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) improved in reading and math this summer.

SAIL was founded in 2012 to build support for rigorous summer learning across Alabama. SAIL helps non-profits , faith-based organizations, and other community organizations invest in high-quality summer learning programs. SAIL facilitates assessments, peer learning, and funding opportunities to ensure that Alabama’s high-quality summer learning programs thrive.  

On average, SAIL students gained 3.1 months in math and 1.9 months in reading. This is the 11th summer in a row that SAIL students have achieved academic growth. 

“All students, but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, suffer from summer learning losses,” said Jim Wooten, president of the Summer Adventures in Learning Board of Directors. “Especially with the state’s new reading and math requirements, we must provide extra academic support to help our children keep up. Year after year, our community-based summer learning programs have not only prevented summer learning loss but helped accelerate growth.” 

In the summer of 2023, 35 programs at 46 sites in 16 counties shared $802,000 from SAIL’s 15 philanthropic partners. Grantees used the funds to offer comprehensive reading and math instruction combined with athletic and other camp-specific activities based on students’ interests.  

More than 2,000 students participated in SAIL-supported summer learning programs this year. Nearly all of the students enrolled this summer (94 percent) were eligible for free and reduced lunch. Eighty-four percent of enrolled students completed the whole summer, and the programs reported an average daily attendance of 82 percent. 

SAIL programs incorporate best practices from summer camp and school to maximize student engagement and learning opportunities. SAIL programs are encouraged to develop their own curriculum.

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This flexibility allows each to design a summer learning program that meets students where they are academically, is tailored to the child’s interests, and addresses the needs of the whole child. On average, SAIL students received 36 hours in reading and 33 hours in math instruction this summer. 

Additionally, SAIL partnered with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE) this summer to support and assess eight summer learning programs for entering kindergarten through third-grade students. SAIL adapted its Quality Assurance Framework to measure whether DECE’s pilot program would help young learners build foundational skills in math and reading. In total, nearly 600 entering K-3 students gained, on average, 3.3 months in math and 1.0 months in reading. 

“This summer was the first year we worked with so many younger learners, and we are excited to report that it was a resounding success,” said Wooten. “These outcomes confirm the robustness of the community-based summer learning model.” 

To view a list of programs receiving SAIL funding in Birmingham:  

To view a list of programs receiving SAIL funding in the Black Belt region: 

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To view a list of programs receiving SAIL funding in the rest of Alabama: 

To view a list of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education Summer Learning Programs:  

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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