Top educators encourage parents to sign up for summer programs – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas’ top educators have a message for parents: Enroll your kids in summer programs.

The nonprofit organization Big Thought brought together education officials on Tuesday for a discussion about summer programs and how to tackle learning loss nearly two years into the pandemic.

“If we’re going to bounce back from a learning loss this summer, that’s going to be crucial,” said Big Thought President and CEO Byron Sanders.

The presentation included data collected by Dallas City of Learning, a citywide initiative that provides free, high-quality summer and after-school programs. Nearly 18,000 students participated in the programs in 2021.

The data presented showed that students who participated in their programs over the past two years outperformed their peers.

“We’ve actually seen that it’s possible to delay the summer slide,” Sanders said.

Sanders said if we want to help DISD students recover from learning loss, we need to make sure they have access to in-person programs this summer.

“Not only can summer experiences bridge the learning gap, they can also start building 21st century skills,” Sanders said. “Those things that don’t often show up on the transcript, but we know are really important, like critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding the digital world.”

The program included a conversation between Dallas Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and U.S. Department of Labor Innovation Director Chike Aguh.

Hinojosa explained how hands-on experiences can help bridge the opportunity gap that many DISD students face.

He pointed to an initiative with American Airlines and Dallas College that puts DISD students on the path to careers in aviation.

Aguh said these types of partnerships are necessary to strengthen America’s future workforce.

“Getting this at 18 compared to 30 or 35 is a huge difference,” Aguh said. “And that’s a very important part of how we prepare people. It’s not just about sitting still in class.

Sanders said the takeaway for parents and caregivers — enroll your kids in summer and after-school programs now to combat learning loss and boost a child’s social and emotional health.

And to the business community, he encourages them to join and see what experiences they can offer Dallas students.

“We’re looking for partners to really join us, young people need to be on your campuses, connecting in the workplaces where you are,” Sanders said. “Working with Big Thought so we can make those really intentional connections throughout a young person’s journey.”

To view the programs offered by Dallas City of Learning, visit here.

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