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Public/Private partnership netted over $10M for summer learning over the last decade

The private funding was raised by the Birmingham-based nonprofit Summer Adventures in Learning.

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Over the last decade, more than $10 million has been raised to bolster rigorous, community-based summer learning programs in Alabama.

The private funding was raised by the Birmingham-based nonprofit Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL), which was founded in 2012 to foster support for rigorous summer learning across the state. SAIL helps non-profits, faith-based organizations, and other community groups invest in high-quality summer learning programs by facilitating assessments, peer learning, and funding opportunities to ensure Alabama’s high-quality summer learning programs thrive.

“For eleven years, SAIL programs have delivered solid academic growth at a reasonable cost,” said Jim Wooten, president of the Summer Adventures in Learning Board of Directors. “We achieve this consistently in rural and urban settings, in large and small programs, and in the most underserved communities in Alabama. This is possible because we have a data-driven quality assurance framework, which is essential for obtaining the best outcomes for our children and the best return on the investment our funders make in SAIL.”

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. 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.

Over 2,000 students participated in SAIL-supported summer learning programs in the summer of 2023. On average, they received 36 hours of reading instruction 33 hours of math instruction. They gained 3.1 months in math and 1.9 months in reading. It was the 11th summer in a row that SAIL students have achieved academic growth.

This summer, 40 programs at 65 locations across 20 counties ­— including 11 new programs in six new counties — will share $840,000 from SAIL’s 15 philanthropic partners. Among the new programs receiving SAIL funding this year is a collaboration with the City of Anniston, which will operate camps for entering 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders throughout June and July.

“We’re excited to be expanding our footprint this year, and especially about our new partnership in Anniston,” said Suzy Harris, SAIL’s Program Director. “As additional funding becomes available, we expect to add new communities in years to come.”

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