November 05, 2013

It took teamwork, planning and partnerships, but the results of our two YMCA summer learning pilots are in and the outcomes are incredible.

At McCoy Elementary, where we co-sponsored the YMCA/BELL summer learning pilot, 111 young “scholars” collectively improved their math achievement by 6.6 months and boosted reading scores by 5.8 months. 

That’s half a year of learning in just six weeks!

Our local pilot was one of three that BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) sponsored through Y-USA and funded through the Wallace Foundation. In Orlando, Chicago and Hartford, CT, student achievement soared and exceeded all expectations, which proves we have a model that absolutely works.

We achieved equally great success with our YMCA Summer Zone pilot at Union Park Middle School. Like McCoy, it’s a Title 1 school where students are at highest risk of summer learning loss. Without intervention, many fall further behind each year and are never able to close the achievement gap.

With a grant from JPMorgan Chase, we created an iPad reading lab that engaged kids in high-interest reading activities related to Common Core Standards. By the end of the 5-week program, 68% of students showed measurable gains in reading, compared to 47% during a full, average school year.

It feels great to help kids progress – not regress ─ over the summer. It’s even better to know that these are solid outcomes, which can be replicated anywhere in locally or nationally.    

To that end, the YMCA of Central Florida has set a goal to raise $1 million to expand these models to 10 local sites and help even more kids succeed in school and graduate with positive options.

We’ve already established great partnerships with Orange County Public Schools, Chase and BELL, but to take this success to scale, we need additional funders and sponsors.

To get involved and learn more about the Y’s innovative programs to support kids, families and education, please contact Shannon Matthews, YMCA Vice President of Youth Development, at (407) 895-8609 or email [email protected].