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National Summer Learning Day: Keeping VA Kids Interested All Summer

June 21, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. - School is out for the summer, and today kicks off the start of continued learning and inspiration for kids throughout the summer months. National Summer Learning Day today is an annual event meant to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality summer educational opportunities for all kids, and in Virginia, events include summer camps, field trips and reading programs.

Ron Fairchild, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, says it's also a chance to talk about education reform for summer school. He shares a new vision that goes beyond remedial classes and test preparation.

"I see one that is much more enriching, can help kids catch up, keep up, and work ahead while exploring some new talents and some new skills that they need in order to be successful in school and in life."

Fairchild says it's been well-documented that kids fall behind academically during the vacation months if they don't have access to quality learning programs, and children in low-income families lose the most ground when the school doors close.

"They lose access to educational opportunity, nutritious meals and snacks, and to safe places with adult supervision, and so the challenge is to expand these kinds of opportunities for all kids in this country."

Fairchild notes that many school districts are cutting summer school to deal with shrinking budgets. He says schools can partner with community organizations and tap a mix of private and public funding to establish summer learning programs. Such partnerships are proving successful in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as other states.

Some Virginia events continue throughout the summer in Alexandria, Arlington, Woodlawn and in D.C.

Details on all Virginia events are at www.summerlearning.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - VA