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District Summer Learning Network

  • United States
The Wallace Foundation
2021 - 2023

The District Summer Learning Network (DSLN) helps school districts across the country maximize the tremendous potential of summer learning programs to promote student well-being. DSLN provides coaching and technical assistance to help districts use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) to design summer programs that nurture students’ social, emotional and mental health needs while preparing them for academic success. This is especially important due to the challenges schools are experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The long-term goal of this two-year initiative is to support districts as they design effective, evidence-based summer programs that are sustainable after ESSER funds are no longer available.

With generous support from The Wallace Foundation, DSLN will work with up to 85 school districts to produce three-year plans for summer programs that provide transformational opportunities for youth — especially those from historically marginalized communities. The road maps will respond to the local context and align with the priorities in the districts’ ESSER plans. Through DSLN, districts will define a vision for summer programming that includes a focus on equity, holistic youth-centered approaches and strong district-community partnerships.

The first cohort of districts — geographically diverse, representing urban, suburban and rural communities — started receiving support in January 2022 and will continue to participate in DSLN through fall 2023. They enroll more than 2.25 million students, including high percentages of students of color and students from low-income households. The DSLN will serve as the basis for a corresponding research study being conducted by external researchers who will work closely with FHI 360 to add to the growing evidence base and inform the broader field of summer learning.

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