STEM summer programs help counter learning loss

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When the final bell of the year rings, hoards of chattering students grab their books, toss old papers in the air, and get ready for the best season of all–summer. For most K-12 students, summer time offers a welcome break from the lectures, homework and tests of the school year. But in the blissful delirium of sunshine and dripping grape popsicles, many kids don’t realize that they’re losing a significant amount of the knowledge they worked all year to learn. Garry Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, says that students lose up to two to three months of school learning over the summer. In reading, low-income students are hit the worst by what is known as, “the summer slide.” Huggins says that these students are disproportionately affected by summer learning loss because they don’t have the same access to activities like summer programs and museum visits as their wealthier peers. In math, however, the summer slide falls between two and three months of loss across all income levels. Huggins says that the most common theory for why math sees across-the-board losses is that, “There’re a lot of families that encourage their kids to read and their kids have access to good reading material that fits their interest… but not a lot of us sit around and work on math skills.” One way to combat these losses is through summer camp. North Carolina, for example, has a wide range of STEM related camps that will help kids not only maintain but also increase their knowledge of math and science in the summer months. The database below is searchable and full of NC STEM summer camps. Filter by school-level by typing elementary, middle, or high school into the search bar.  You can also search by the subject area of the program including engineering, biology and others.   [table id=2 /]