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Tacoma AYD programs unite to support summer learning

by Jon Sayer | | Posted under Afterschool and Summer News

Summer Learning TacomaIn this article, we hear about a collaborative effort to increase access to summer learning opportunities in Tacoma.  The Tacoma News Tribune highlighted this effort in a recent news article, Summer Learning List has Activities for Youth.

By Carmetrus Parker, Coordinator, Tacoma Summer Learning Collaborative

The Tacoma Summer Learning Collaborative is a network of program providers and organizations focused on serving local youth. Membership includes larger organizations such as YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs and Metro Parks, as well as some smaller, locally based organizations like Hilltop Artists, Computer Clubhouse, and Peace Community Center. Tacoma Public School District is a regular participant and active partner as well.

This collaborative partnership is a movement of Graduate Tacoma! and is a focused effort to promote student success from cradle to college and career. Efforts include a targeted promotional campaign aimed at driving traffic to the recently launched website SummerLearningTacoma.org. This website serves as hub for parents to search hundreds of local summer youth programs. There are multiple search categories that allow users to sort results based on interest. Scholarship and other financial assistance is clearly marked and users are able to click and connect directly to provider sites from SummerLearningTacoma.org.

Community visibility is a key priority and outreach efforts include an interview with TV Tacoma, printed advertisements posted throughout the community as posters in coffee shops, organizations and schools. Yard signs can be seen on the grounds of schools, at local businesses and in residential neighborhoods. Electronic billboards carry the message to riders and promote the website as well. Parents of Tacoma Public School students have received automated calls in both English and Spanish and several rounds of flyers have been sent home.

The purpose of blanketing the community with the message that summer learning is FUN is really an effort to reinforce Graduate Tacoma!’s goal of increasing the graduation rate for Tacoma students. We know that students participating in summer programs return to school in the fall having retained more of the skills previously taught and are more prepared to build upon them and ultimately succeed academically.

This collaborative effort works towards achieving Tacoma’s shared community goal of increasing by 50% both the graduation rate of Tacoma Public School students and those who complete a college degree or technical certificate by the year 2020. With collaborative efforts such as these and strategic partnerships committed to shared goals and visioning, I fully expect us to reach our goal.

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