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Not an Identical Summer: Engaging the Summer Brain


No summer is the same. Each year, Communities In Schools of Durham pushes the envelope to bridge the school year with engaging learning activities for our community's youth. With literacy as one of our foundational focuses, CIS is working within the schools we serve to help provide robust programming. At Y.E. Smith Elementary, CIS Success Coach Brittany Gregory is collaborating with school staff on the Project WIN summer reading program.

Project WIN is a federally funded project through Durham Public Schools for rising K-2 students. The program involves a three-week camp, from June 22 to July 9, with students from Y.E. Smith, C.C. Spaulding, and Fayetteville Elementary Schools.

“The ultimate goal of the camp is to prevent summer reading loss,” Brittany says. “Many activities that students participate in are: guided reading, independent reading, word work, and writing.”

Gregory is collaborating with Y.E. Smith staff to support students and teachers during the day. In the program, students get to take home books to read with their parents in order to encourage parent engagement as well as reduce summer reading loss. Targeting summer reading loss is an essential part of the goals for Communities In Schools of Durham in reducing the achievement gap.

According to the New York Times, students lose about one months' worth of reading and math on average due to summer learning loss. Summer learning loss heightens in low-income communities, where it rises to almost two months worth of learning.

The work at Y.E. Smith Elementary gives CIS of Durham the opportunity to continue to support students year-round. The collaboration with Y.E. Smith Elementary is a natural extension of previous programing that focuses on reducing the achievement gap by providing resources and support such as tutoring and mentorship to students.

Although not helping for the entirety of the camp, our staff members are ecstatic to continue working with kids at Y.E. Smith. “I enjoy helping students with their work inside of the classroom,” Brittany says.

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