Enhancing Youth Literacy: Summer Support

Instructor Name: 
Zapoura Newton-Calvert
Course Description: 

The Summer Youth Enrichment Capstone has spent the last three summers working with programs designed to help bridge the summer achievement gap. Since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, the "achievement gap" has been at the forefront of discussions about school equity.  A significant contributor to the achievement gap is the summer learning gap.  According to researchers on the subject, “Achievement gaps by family socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity widen more during the summer months than during the school year” (Alexander, Entwisle, and Olson 1).  This is often due to the lack of academic enrichment activities available to students in these demographics.  A recent (2007) study by the Nellie Mae Foundation indicates that building on existing networks, for example the Capstone service learning network, is one of the best ways to support summer learning programs and to close this gap (Miller 28).  


This term, we are partnered with two programs serving younger youth.  The James John Summer SUN Program serves the students from James John Elementary (K-5), and the Parkrose Day Camp Program, which serves youth K-12..  Volunteers at both placements will have the opportunity to provide academic support AND to develop/teach creative, fun learning activities to support summer learning and growth. 


We are also partnered with two programs serving high school youth.  Both partner sites are running the 9th Grade Counts Program in addition to other summer academic support programs for students. The 9th Grade Counts Program was designed to support struggling Portland students who will be transitioning from the 8th grade to high school in fall 2011.  The Portland Schools Foundation developed the idea to “deliver a citywide network to give young people the support they need to stay on track” and launched the first year of this program in 2010.  The program is delivered through local sites all around the city and is partnered with various schools, academic enrichment programs, and social service agencies.  As part of this program, Capstone students will serve as tutors/mentors for young students who are struggling, especially in the areas of reading, writing, and math.  Students may also help brainstorm and develop enrichment activities for students that will stimulate their creativity and critical thinking. We will be working with program sites at David Douglas and Gresham High Schools.  One of our partners specifically works to support Latino Youth through the Puentes Program, which runs at both schools.


Please email Zapoura Newton-Calvert at zapoura@pdx.edu for more details.