Offering evidence-based summer programming opportunities to students is a chance to complement (not replicate) instruction that occurs during a typical school year. DPI recommends that districts plan for summer programming that attends to the following.
Summer programming opportunities that benefit students attend to their physical and social and emotional wellness. That could mean taking advantage of being outdoors, being off campus, or incorporating mindfulness or physical movement into instruction. Learning that engages students in new experiences while supporting the development and practice of interpersonal competencies contribute to wellness and are elements of evidence-based programming.
Engagement and Empowerment
Hands-on, student-centered learning that includes opportunities for students to have a voice in program activities and make choices about what they are doing increases the likelihood of student engagement and empowerment. Active, hands-on learning activities that allow students to develop new skills while prioritizing student voice and choice are an element of evidence-based summer programs.
Summer programming is a chance to provide learning opportunities that allow students to extend their learning and apply it to authentic situations. Consider offering project-based learning activities that involve students in applying literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, or other content area knowledge and skills to respond to an issue that they are interested in or care about. Meaningful and relevant activities and opportunities to practice skills that promote mastery are elements of evidence-based programming.
Summer learning can be enhanced by leveraging community partnerships to offer a broad array of learning opportunities to students. Consider reaching out to your local public library, or community-based organizations, such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, or others that exist in your community to identify ways to collaborate and offer different experiences to students. Programming that engages community partnerships and collaborations, including the adult family members of students, is an element of evidence-based programming.
Providing evidence-based learning opportunities means that there is research and evidence that supports the instructional activities educators are implementing. Elements of an evidence-based program are much more than intervention and have been described above. There are evidence-based instructional practices found at What Works Clearinghouse, but to be in alignment with the above evidence-based practices, consider implementing the research and evidence-based practices described in Best Practices for Comprehensive Summer School Programs (2017, Hanover Research). This report provides findings to inform the design and implementation of a successful summer learning program in addition to concrete examples of summer course content that meets the above mentioned principles and is organized by grade-level.
Models and Examples
For additional models and examples of high-quality and research and evidence-based summer programming, see the following:
An online repository of resources related to planning for effective summer learning programs.
Free online professional learning for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, including a course to prepare educators to provide high-quality summer programming at https://y4y.ed.gov/learn/summer-learning, hands-on project ideas and resources for STEM learning at https://y4y.ed.gov/stemchallenge/overview, and more.
A 6 week program for early elementary students provided in collaboration with local YMCA organizations.
A description of one Wisconsin school district’s art-focused summer learning programming.
A description of one Wisconsin school district’s summer learning program, including schedules and descriptions of courses.
Additional Information and Resources
- Summer Online Instruction
Please see our September 15, 2021 School Finance Bulletin item on DPI's rule regarding virtual options for summer school.
Summer membership for summer and interim session classes is reported to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) using the School Finance Reporting Portal. The following worksheets are completed and used for reporting the required information:
PI-1804 form and PI-1804 worksheet Summer and Interim Session Membership Reporting.
Combines PI-1804 (Summer and Interim Session Membership) and PI-1805 (ITP Summary). PI-1805 is the form needed for reporting the summer school participation of students officially enrolled in the Integration Transfer Program (ITP - commonly referred to as the "Chapter 220" program). Only districts in the Milwaukee area are eligible for this program.
Note: Please use the "AcadCourse_Fee Reconciliation" tab in the Excel workbook above to reconcile student fee revenue and cost on a per course basis. Another tab, "7-12 Online Fee Reconciliation," is also available to the right for your use if needed.
- General Information
Guidelines and Administrative Rule
Frequently Asked Questions
- Summer School Meal Programs