Conclusion: Leveraging the Power of Quality Afterschool and Summer Learning: An Important Strategy for Student Success Across America

As a result of rigorous academic standards recently adopted by almost all of our states, teaching and learning are improving all across America. Yet too many of our students are still struggling to master basic skills and learn well the core subjects.

Introduction: The Importance of and New Opportunities for Leveraging Afterschool and Summer Learning and School-Community Partnerships for Student Success

It is a given that today’s level of student learning will directly impact our future economic and civic well-being. Yet too often, educators and our public schools, serving almost 50 million students, seem to be under attack, underappreciated, and often underfunded. This is not the way to prepare our nation—and our nation’s children— for the future. We need to find a set of strategies and tools both to support them and to accelerate learning.


Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success couldn’t be more timely. Debate abounds today on how we should reform education to provide the learning experiences and opportunities students need to prepare for jobs in our sophisticated, technological age.

Expanding Minds and Opportunities

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, edited by Terry K. Peterson, Ph.D., is a groundbreaking compendium of studies, reports and commentaries by more than 100 thought leaders including community leaders, elected officials, educators, researchers, advocates and other prominent authors.

Section VI. A Growing Nationwide Infrastructure for Quality, Expansion and Partnerships

This section focuses on the support structures that scaffold and frame the continually growing field of expanded learning and connections to education and other key systems. The articles present evidence that intentional linkages between research, policy and practice along with the formation of networks and coalitions designed to build program quality, public awareness and funding streams are essential features of a mature field.

Superintendent Tom Torlakson and Jennifer Peck
Mayor Christopher Coleman, Mayor Karl Dean, City Council Member James Mitchell, Jr, Mayor Betsy Price and Councilman-at-Large Ronnie Steine

Section V. Afterschool and Summer Programs as Catalysts for Engaging Families

This section presents the critical role of families in supporting children’s learning and development as well as building strong connections between afterschool and summer programs and schools. Articles focus on the research base that shows the importance of family engagement as well as best practices and strategies for meaningfully engaging parents, families and guardians of students from elementary through high school.

Section IV. The Power of Community-School Partnerships in Expanding Learning

This section focuses on ways that collaborations between schools and community organizations promote student success, maximize financial, human and other resources, and build public will. Examples of partnerships between schools and afterschool and summer programs as well as community entities such as businesses, libraries and universities demonstrate that partners are key to supporting learning and development through exploration via the arts, sports, civic engagement and workplace experience, among other pathways.

Section III. Recent Evidence of Impact

This section presents leading research and evaluation studies and best practice reports that demonstrate the power of expanded learning programs for promoting student success and building partnerships that benefit schools and communities. The articles together represent a compelling body of literature on program quality and improvement, data systems and analysis, and program sustainability, adaptability and scale.

Section II. Expanding Skills and Horizons

This section focuses on leading edge issues in the field and ways that expanded learning opportunities can open the traditional boundaries of education to support learning anytime and everywhere through technology, credit flexibility and recovery, and other innovative approaches. From STEM to the arts to wellness to higher-order thinking to global competence, afterschool and summer learning programs promote an array of essential competencies for today and the future.


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