Academic testing from the Cedar Rapids Community School District indicates the majority of students who participated in the six-week Kids on Course University summer program showed improvement in reading. The average growth was one and half months! Research has indicated that students can lose up to three months in the subject of reading during the summer break.
“The results exceeded the program’s goals and expectations,” noted Val Dolezal, Executive Administrator of Elementary Education. “Students in the Kids On Course University program also showed great commitment through the consistently high attendance across all five program sites.”
A total of 624 students from 15 District elementary schools attended the free summer program, which aims to help close the achievement gap through summer learning. Students with a demonstrated reading deficiency were invited to participate.
Summer 2016 results:
- 89% of KCU students reduced, eliminated or reversed summer slide in reading
- 60% of KCU students started the school year at a higher reading level then last school year
- 83% of KCU students had good attendance at the summer program
All performance data is based on the District’s FAST (Formative Assessment System for Teachers) Reading scores which are administered to students.
Kids on Course University was developed with the Zach Johnson Foundation and modeled after its Kids on Course program. The 2016 six-week summer camp was held July 5-August 15, with classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Participating students were identified from 15 of the District’s Title 1 schools: Arthur, Cleveland, Garfield, Grant, Grant Wood, Harrison, Hiawatha, Hoover, Kenwood, Johnson, Madison, Nixon, Truman, Van Buren, and Wright. Classes were held at “Super Sites” at Cleveland, Garfield, Grant Wood, Harrison, and Hiawatha elementary schools. District school busses transported students to their site where 60 certified teachers provided instruction in reading, writing, and mathematics to classes of up to 15 students. The day also included enrichment programming and field trips, as well as breakfast and lunch provided by Horizons: A Family Service Alliance.
Based on the success of the 2016 program, the length of the program will be extended from six to seven weeks for 2017. The District is also working to identify additional pathways to serve even more students through Kids On Course University.
The summer program is funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant from the IA Dept. of Education, the Zach Johnson Foundation, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, the Cedar Rapids Community Schools Foundation and in-kind gifts from Kirkwood Community College and the United Way of East Central Iowa.