Thanks to close to $3 million in grant awards, the 2013 Summer Dreamers Academy will serve up to 2,600 students this year. The Board voted to accept a large part of those funds, which includes $1.4 million from the Wallace Foundation and $360,000 from The Walmart Foundation, at this evening’s Legislative Meeting. Combined with the $1.2 million already received from the Fund for Excellence, Summer Dreamers will be able to serve the same number of students as last year. The Summer Dreamers Academy is a summer learning camp offered at no cost to eligible Pittsburgh Public Schools students. Registration information for this year’s camp, taking place July 1– August 7, will be mailed out next month.
Over the past two years, the Wallace Foundation has provided $2.8 million to support the Summer Dreamers Academy. This most recent grant will be used to staff positions, fund enrichment activities and transportation, and support communications efforts. In addition, The Wallace Foundation provides access to a professional learning community of consultants and colleagues across the country, which shares best practices regarding planning, enrollment and retention, operations, and summer curriculum development. The Wallace Foundation also supports a program evaluation by the RAND Corporation, including a two-year randomized control trial study of rising fourth grade students that will begin this summer. Additional support is expected for summer 2014.
The Walmart Foundation grant of $360,000 supports the camp’s middle grades program serving 760 students in grades 5-8. This is the second year of a two-year grant from The Walmart Foundation which totals $720,000. In November, the Board approved a $1.2 million grant from the Fund for Excellence.
Because of the generous financial support, Summer Dreamers Academy is able to serve up to 2,600 students this year. The program, designed to prevent summer learning loss, keeps students’ minds and bodies active as well as prepare them for a great school year in the fall. Research shows that over the summer children can lose, on average, one-month of what they learned in school.
This can add up over the years, and cause some children to fall behind. The Summer Dreamers Academy provides students the skills they need to succeed all year round.
But it’s not school as usual! Students will also take part in exciting enrichment activities of their choice. In the past, campers had a ball fencing, biking, painting and much more! Tonight, the Board additionally approved the contracts of 21 organizations to facilitate afternoon enrichment activities this summer. Organizations were selected through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
Enrollment gets underway for the Summer Dreamers Academy mid-March, with the mailing of registration materials to the homes of all PPS students currently enrolled in Kindergarten – 8th grade. Additional enrollment materials will be available at schools and by request from the Parent Hotline.