By 2025, our goal is to double the number of West County children and youth who earn a degree or certificate. To achieve our goal, our children and youth need Access to high quality Out-of-School Time (OST) programming that builds knowledge, shapes attitudes, and strengthens relevant skills through active and engaged learning.
The map above is from the Ed Fund’s recently conducted community scan of elementary and middle school OST after school and summer programs in West Contra Costa County. The dark red indicates a high unmet need in available elementary summer programming. For too many kids, lack of free and low cost summer options means a summer without enrichment and entering the school year behind their peers, with the average student losing 2-3 months of learning each summer. Research shows that this learning loss contributes to 2/3 of the achievement gap by the time our students reach high school.
The Ed Fund is committed to increasing opportunities for our children to participate in quality after-school and summer programs. For the third summer, the Ed Fund, with support from the West Contra Costa Unified School District, has partnered with the City of Richmond to offer free high quality summer camp programs at Shields Reid, Nevin, Parchester, and Booker T. Anderson Community Centers.
Through this successful program model and partnerships, over 350 kids participated last summer. Many campers returned for a second or third year, increasing summer camp enrollment by 101% over three years. As a result, the average camper saw their reading assessment score increase by over 4 months.
To ensure this meaningful skill development happens, the Ed Fund contracts high quality enrichment providers and WCCUSD certified teachers as a key strategy to support the summer camp experience for youth. For the third summer, we administered Summer Program Grants to collaborative partners Berkeley Chess School, Mindful Life Project, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and the Richmond Art Center to deliver high quality programming.
Our kids and this program represent the hope and promise of our collaborative effort. Through continued involvement in high quality after school and summer programs, our kids will continue to build the skills and academic acumen to begin closing the achievement gap in West Contra Costa.