Practice brief

Summer Learning

A Smart Investment for California School Districts
Mary Perry
Mary L. Perry Consulting
Nazaneen Khalilnaji-Otto
Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN)
Katie Brackenridge
Turnaround for Children


Summer learning loss contributes significantly to the achievement gap between low income students and their more affluent peers. That makes high quality summer learning programs a smart investment for school districts concerned about success for all students. Such investments have become easier thanks to the flexibility built into the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The most promising programs are not traditional summer school. Instead, they look and feel like summer camp while incorporating learning goals aligned with district priorities. Summer learning programs:

  • Offer an innovative approach for engaging young people and inspiring a love of learning throughout the year.
  • Include camp experiences such as chants and rituals, cabins and teams, games and sports, and experiments and experiences.
  • Integrate intentional learning goals, lesson plans, and evaluations of learning into an engaging program environment.
Suggested citationPerry, M., Khalilnaji-Otto, N., & Brackenridge, K. (2018, January). Summer learning—A smart investment for California school districts [Practice brief]. Policy Analysis for California Education.