So what is the summer slide?
The chart below shows how devastating the summer slide can be to a child. Student A who remains on track using a reading program during the summer remains on grade level by the end of high school. However, for student B, by the time they have finished elementary and middle school if a child has “slid” every year, as a freshman they will only be on a 6th grade reading level.
Social/ Emotional Development
From doing an analysis of KIPP Philadelphia conducting personal anecdotal studies as the behavioral specialist of the entire K-4th grade school we noticed that on a tough day, (which for our more challenging students are two to three times a week) students miss an average of 2 hours a day of instructional time. If you factor in school suspensions or parents having to pick them up because of the level of the extreme level of tantrums you are looking at 3 days a month. If you dig further, the math shows that in one school year they are actually missing 30 days of instructional time. Most schools determine that a child missing 17 days are in an emergency intervention stage. While this is not the norm for every child, the reality is that our most challenging students have much more of hurdle to overcome than most, and at least 7 percent of every school has emotionally challenged students. So on average, a school of k-4 with 400 students, in a higher performing school such as KIPP, 28 students is missing a month or more of instructional time, I would dare to say it is far more in a public school without the resources that charters supply. However, if we go from the 7 percent average point, in every elementary school in the Philadelphia area alone that total of students missing at least a month of educational time is over 5,000, and that is alarming.
Traumas exist within all of us but none is more prevalent than youth in low-income areas. Toxic stress damages this population in early development stages and has lasting results. From poor coping skills to anxiety filled, impulsive decisions, our children start with a disadvantage from lacking primary and foundational skills due to situations such as the absence of a two parent household, abusive home life, poor and violence stricken neighborhoods, life changing deaths and /or arrest in key members of the family and other early onset traumas.
So one has to consider this has a drastic effect on proper learning. Whole child development is a key essential most people are overlooking in the desperate search on ways to bridge our achievement gap. We have to begin to present our children with different ways to learn so they CAN. We believe every child wants to learn they just have to be put in the right position and given the right tools to achieve it. By building self-esteem and building a culture of uplifting each other, we build confidence in our children to inspire one another to inspire the passion of learning, giving our children more of a hunger for learning and invoking a pride and passion for pursuing challenges instead of running away or being fearful of them.