Y programs help kids stay engaged with learning all summer long.
While kids look forward to summer as a chance to put away the books and forget about homework for a while, research shows that an extended break from learning can have negative academic consequences.
On average, elementary-age children lose two months of reading skills over the summer. This “summer slide” is even more pronounced for kids from low-income households, whose access to summer enrichment programs is limited due to enrollment and transportation expenses. By the time children reach fifth grade, these summer learning losses can leave them nearly three years behind their peers.
That’s where Starfish Academy and Power Scholars come in. These YMCA-sponsored programs address the achievement gap in reading, literacy and math skills by providing free summer instruction for nearly 200 elementary students from Des Moines’ urban core. Guided by certified teachers and trained youth counselors, the kids work on academic subjects in the mornings and spend the afternoons taking part in STEM activities, field trips, art projects, swimming and wellness activities.
The results speak for themselves. Since 2014, children attending the Starfish Academy and Power Scholars programs have improved their reading skills an average of 3.3 months over the summer. They return to school in the fall more confident and better prepared to continue their academic growth. Parents and caregivers give the programs high marks, with more than 90% reporting that they are “highly satisfied” with their children’s progress over the summer.
The Starfish Academy and Power Scholars programs are made possible through a partnership with Des Moines Public Schools and the generosity of companies and organizations that support the Y’s cause of strengthening the foundations of community through a focus on youth development. For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of kids in our community, contact Vicky Foresman, vice president of mission advancement.