HCS Receives Community Funds for Summer Programs

The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and The Schools Foundation met with local school representatives today at the new Community Foundation Park downtown to present them with funds in support of summer learning.  At the event, Huntsville City Schools (HCS) Superintendent Christie Finley was presented a check for $60,000 to be used as part of the Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) program.

“We’re very grateful for The Community Foundation and the funds that they’ve raised to reinvest into our school district, and in the long run our future workforce,” said HCS Superintendent Christie Finley.

The SAIL program was first created five years ago as a collective impact project that brings community funders together with local school districts to combat summer learning loss, which is often referred to as “the summer slide.”

Melissa Thompson, CEO of The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, pointed out “the research shows that without intentionally academic opportunities, students may slide back two to three months in English and math each summer.”  Participation in an effective summer learning program can not only reverse this learning loss, but often yields learning gains instead.

Due to the blended and/or virtual learning modes that have taken place this year as a result of COVID-19, these in-person summer programs are expected to positively impact students even more than in previous years.

The SAIL program uses a diverse delivery model that doesn’t necessarily prescribe how to conduct the program.  It instead focuses on giving front-line educators the tools they need to reach their individual students and communities, and then follows up with assessments to see what worked well.  HCS, which has participated in the SAIL program for several years, layers the SAIL program with its existing summer programs curriculum. 

“Huntsville City Schools is doing a really comprehensive program this summer with the Alabama Literacy Act and addressing math as well,” said The Schools Foundation representative Ann Kvach, adding that the district plans to host the Summer Learning Academies at over ten school sites this year.

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