What is the Summer Learning Collaborative Action Network (CAN)?

The Summer Learning Collaborative Action Network kicked off in January 2017 with the goal of helping young children maintain and/or gain literacy skills during the summer months when they are not in school.

Fort Worth Library Director Dr. Gleniece Robinson and LaToya Stewart, United Way of Tarrant County’s vice president of community development, stepped forward to co-chair the network.

Marilyn Jones, United Way of Tarrant County’s executive vice president for community development; Ann Rice, former United Way chief operating officer; and Tobi Jackson, chief executive officer of Fort Worth SPARC and a Fort Worth ISD trustee, lent their expertise early on and remain engaged in the network. Becky Balarin, chief program officer for Girls. Inc. of Tarrant County, and J.D. Newsom, chief operating officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, have provided invaluable leadership in shaping a pilot project to offer children in a targeted area enhanced opportunities to increase literacy skills this summer.

More than two dozen nonprofit, educational and faith-based organizations have worked collectively to strengthen summer learning opportunities for Fort Worth children.

Why Summer Learning?

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price issued a challenge in 2016 at the formation of the Fort Worth Literacy Partnership: Any youth program supported by city funds should include a literacy component and be aligned with the community’s goal of ensuring that 100 percent of third-graders are reading on grade level by 2025.

In 2016, only 3 of every 10 third-graders scored at the “Final Recommended” level on the Texas STAAR Reading exam and were considered proficient readers or children who were reading on a college-ready pace.

The National Summer Learning Association says that students can lose up to two months of reading achievement during the summer months. The result may be even more grave for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds who may not have access to summer activities that reinforce literacy skills. Summer learning loss also puts students at risk for not reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade – the make or break point for future academic success.

The Literacy Partnership’s Summer Learning CAN is the first of several action teams envisioned to drive strategies that contribute to third-grade reading success. Other teams are forming around outcomes such as health and well-being, early learning, parent engagement and others.

What’s new for Summer 2017?

The Summer Learning CAN is implementing three interrelated strategies.

  • BEST PRACTICES – A focused learning community has been organized to research and share knowledge about best practices in summer learning.
  • WORTH READING – The Fort Worth Library’s year-round Worth Reading campaign and catalog that aims to get everyone in Fort Worth reading, learning and having fun – all year long. It was designed to engage parents of children ages 4 to 9. The campaign will direct families to programs that are fun and provide summer learning experiences that emphasize reading, comprehension, writing and verbal communication. Providers of summer youth programs across Fort Worth have joined.
  • SUMMER SCHOLARS – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, Fort Worth ISD and other organizations have aligned efforts to offer a free, six-week summer enrichment program June 12 – July 28 to help children in a targeted area where third-grade reading achievement is historically low. The 2017 pilot program will recruit up to 100 rising first-, second- and third-graders from Maude Logan, Maudrie Walton and Sunrise McMillan elementary schools. Literacy classes will be led by Girls Inc. instructors and offered at two Boys & Girls Club sites in the Historic Stop Six neighborhood.

For more information, please contact Olga Hickman at 817-258-8132.

May, 09, 2017