Donovan Group Insights

Engaging the Community with Summer Learning Opportunities

For many students, learning is a lower priority during summer vacation. Summer is typically seen as a welcome break from academics. But with the right programs in place—coupled with effective communication strategies—students will grow eager to learn all year round.

A great summer leads into a great year

Think back to the beginning of this past school year. What were students’ attitudes about returning to school? How motivated were they to jump back into learning? Summer learning opportunities can keep students’ minds sharp while enjoying fun activities in a safe, educational environment. This helps ease the transition from vacation to academics in the fall.

Summer learning opportunities do more than engage students in fun ways. They also provide the skills and knowledge that students need to tackle new courses or anticipated challenges. Whether they’re preparing for AP courses, the ACT or simply interacting with peers, summer programs ensure students head into the upcoming year with confidence.

How to promote summer learning opportunities

Most students are not present at school during summer vacation. Because of this, you won’t be able to leverage face-to-face communication as much as you would during the school year.

However, there are still plenty of strategies for effectively communicating summer learning opportunities to students. Here are just a few:

  • Social media: Use Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram and TikTok to advertise summer courses, athletic programs, camps and other student-focused activities.
  • Postcards: Reach families during the summer by sending out printed materials promoting daycare programs, supplemental courses and fun outdoor activities.
  • E-newsletters: Email parents and family members throughout the summer about opportunities that can keep their children active and excited to learn.

Summer programs that set up students for success

Wondering how to keep students engaged over summer vacation? Consider adding these programs to your district’s catalog of summer learning opportunities:

  • Test prep: Offer testing courses to high school students interested in taking the ACT or SAT next year.
  • Ensembles: Promote choirs, orchestras, jazz bands and other music groups that only meet and perform during the summer.
  • Gardening: Summer is the perfect season for students to spend time in nature and contribute to their school garden.
  • Athletics: Host a variety of athletics programs over the summer, so students can get an idea of which sports they want to try out for in the upcoming academic year.

Learning is an adventure that never stops

No matter which summer opportunities you’re promoting, one thing should remain clear: learning is a year-round endeavor. Just because school’s out for summer doesn’t mean students have to put their academic journeys on hold. Show students the whole world is their classroom!

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