On average, students who attend Summer Learning Academies make learning gains and outperform their peers who do not participate.

In 2012, a pilot program was developed with a passionate donor couple, Joe and Mary Kay Henson, and a trailblazing elementary school principal, Dr. Barbara Shirley at Alta Vista Elementary School. Philanthropy was used as risk-capital to prove that free summer learning experiences could mitigate the learning loss that sets students back when they return to school in the fall. The program achieved much more: On average, students who attend Summer Learning Academies make learning gains and outperform their peers who do not participate. Six years later, Sarasota County Schools expanded the Summer Learning Academies to all Title 1 elementary schools in the district. Support continues from donors and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Learn more about Summer Learning Academies at Sarasota County Schools

How Summer Learning Academies Work

Summer Learning Academies prepare new students to enter the classroom and prevent summer learning loss for returning students. Family involvement connects caregivers with school administrators and teachers, creating a connected community.

  • Free, six-week programs for students entering kindergarten through third grade in all Sarasota County Title I elementary schools
  • Morning academic lessons, afternoon enrichment programs tied to curriculum
  • Weekly “Parent University” classes focus on family wellness, parent career development and more

Milestones

2012–2019

Enrollment in Summer Learning Academies increased from 62 students to more than 1,100

2018

More than 1,400 parents and guardians enrolled in Parent University

2019

All 12 Title I elementary schools in Sarasota County offered Summer Learning Academies

Get Involved

Kirsten Russell

Vice President, Community Impact

941-955-3000

Email