The Summer Advantage program harnesses the power of summer learning to help children (whom we call scholars) raise their achievement, become healthier and more physically fit, improve their self-esteem, and return to school better prepared to succeed academically, with stronger minds and bodies.
WHY SUMMER ADVANTAGE? Summer Advantage is an award-winning summer
academic and life enrichment program.
Summer Advantage was modeled from extensive national research regarding what makes a summer academic program successful.
they want to have fun
Young children don’t want to “go to school” in the summer – they want to have fun
If the program isn’t “fun” kids won’t attend
Summer Advantage’s afternoon enrichment programming; Friday field trips; breakfast and lunch; colorful, interesting curriculum materials; interactive teaching methods; and a low-ratio of students to teachers; together entice approximately 575 elementary students to complete the five-week program each summer.
The goal is to encourage children to read.
The Summer Advantage curriculum is specially designed to appeal to young children with topics that interest them and colorful illustrations and photography.
575 of the achievers attend every summer, many of whom enter our program 1-2 YEARS or more behind their peers
The SA curriculum has proven to be effective in both generating enthusiastic participation among young RFS students and in achieving 2.5+ months of academic gains each summer in both reading and math during the five-week program.
In 12 years of
Summit54 Summer Advantage programming
Scholars who attend the Summit54 Summer Advantage program advance 2.5 to 4 months in their reading and math skills each summer. Without access to a high-quality summer academic program, low-income students typically regress three months during the long summer break.
This positive turnaround
of more than six months makes a significant impact on children’s academic readiness for the following school year.
Each summer, more than 575 scholars in grades K-5 attend our program.
Below you can find key demographics from summer 2023.
81% of scholars identified Latino.
71% of scholars qualified for free or reduced price meals during the school year.
74% of our scholars were English Language Learners.
44% of scholars were girls and 56% were boys.
Program Dates & Hours
The Roaring Fork Valley Summer Advantage program is possible through a three-way partnership with the Roaring Fork School District, Summer Advantage USA and Summit54. Together we provide children with five-weeks of high quality summer programming from June 17 - July 19, 2024. The program runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Overall, our scholars receive an additional 25 days, or 162 total hours of dynamic summer learning that includes rigorous academics, physical fitness, nutritious meals and a wide array of life enrichment experiences.
To ensure our scholars work with well-qualified educators, we utilize an industry-leading, multi-tiered process for selecting educators that includes several interviews and analysis of student data. Through this intensive screening process, Summer Advantage selects approximately 70 educators to serve our scholars each summer including Teachers, Teacher Assistants, Program Managers, Assistant Program Managers, and Operations Administrators. By placing 70 high-quality teachers in our classrooms, we are able to maintain small classes and a 1:10 educator-to-student ratio to ensure personalized instruction for our scholars.
In addition to undergoing a rigorous selection process, our educators participate in 20 hours of skill-based training prior to the start of the program. Pre-service training includes ten hours of self-paced online learning and 18 hours of face-to-face professional development covering topics such as collaboration and engagement, checking for understanding, social emotional support, curriculum support and more. As a result of the dynamic professional development and program experience, our educators overwhelming report an increase in their professional skills.
Based on the nationally-normed exam, STAR Reading and Math, our scholars demonstrate an average of 2.5 - 4 months of academic gains, including an average of 2.5+ months gain in reading and 3.5 months gain in math over the course of the program each summer.
As we previously shared, this represents a significant turnaround for our scholars. Children living in low-income communities typically experience 3 months of summer learning loss. The gains made by our scholars position them to progress towards academic success in the coming school year. On average, over 86% of scholars attend the program daily.
Enrichment Experiences offered in 2023
- STEAM Challenges: This enrichment involved a variety of hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art or math) activities that required collaboration and teamwork. Student groups were presented with multi-step directions that challenged them to work with given materials, such as building the sturdiest bridge they can using only toothpicks and mini marshmallows. The class encouraged critical thinking skills and healthy competition to create high quality work.
- Career Exploration: This enrichment involved students researching, learning, and sharing information with their classmates about careers they found interesting. Students also learned about the components of a job application and how to highlight their strengths. In addition, students practiced the interview process through answering questions about themselves.
3. Healthy Eating and Movement: This enrichment focused on what healthy eating really looks like through literature, videos, and making healthy snacks at school. Movement was incorporated into the class to show scholars how they can build a healthy body and mind through stretching, proper exercise moves, and relaxation techniques.
4. Geography and Map Games: Scholars explored different countries around the world using maps, videos, and songs. We challenged scholars to locate specific countries on the globe and expand their cultural knowledge about the world.
5. Mindfulness and Yoga: With anxiety, attention difficulties, and mental health issues on the rise, this class focused on mindful breathing, positive thinking, and creating a positive mindset. Scholars learned mindfulness techniques through yoga and stretches to help relax and strengthen the mind and body.
Field Trips & Community Service Projects
On Fridays, Summer Advantage scholars participate in engaging educational field trips which allow them to deepen relationships with their families, build connections to their community, and envision pathways for their futures.
The “Fun Friday” experience is integral to our program. In previous year, scholars had the opportunity to learn about the rich history of Colorado by visiting the Glenwood Springs Railroad Museum, the Ice Age Discovery Center, and Glenwood Caverns. They also visited Ashcroft Miner’s Town, where scholars learned about the boom and bust cycle in economies, and toured the mountain side of Aspen where they got to see the remarkable sites of the valley in which they live.
We value community engagement and aim to promote this service-mindedness in our program. For example, scholars had the opportunity to work with Roaring Forks Outdoor Volunteers on a service learning project where they helped restore and beautify the local bike pump track. The event also hosted several guests including Carbondale Branch Library, Colorado Mountain College, and Lucky Day Animal Rescue, who taught our scholars how to safely approach animals.
Below you can find some of the wonderful field trips that our scholars experienced:
|Aspen Mountain||Traveled to Aspen Mountain for a gondola ride, picnic lunch, outdoor activities and nature hike.|
|Crystal River Fish Hatchery||Toured the fish hatchery to learn about the importance of maintaining fish populations in Colorado lakes, rivers and streams. They also had the opportunity to feed the fish!|
|Ashcroft Ghost Town||Toured of the Ashcroft Ghost Town and explored five different stations of information regarding the historical site and stories of the area.|
|Redstone Castle||Learned about the history of Redstone, a coal town founded by John Cleveland Osgood. They had a chance to tour the historical castle and play at the town park.|
|Glenwood Caverns||Toured the caves in Glenwood Caverns. Through the experience, scholars learned about conservation of the fragile cave ecosystem, the importance of being stewards for the environment, and how pollution affects the cave systems.|
|Sopris Alpaca Farm||Toured a working Alpaca farm to learn how local farmers use Alpaca fiber for making knitted and woven items, similar to sheep’s wool.|
|Colorado Mountain College||Toured residence halls, the cafeteria, and academic classrooms on a real college campus. Counselors spoke with scholars about the importance of good grades, working towards goals and what a college education can do for their future.|
Summit54 and our partners want to provide the best summer experience for all who participate in the program. We are focused on improving academic results, but we also care about the engagement and satisfaction of our scholars, families, and educators. We are very pleased to share some of the following highlights from our survey:
98% of parents would recommend the program to other families.
87% of teachers would recommend the program to parents looking for an educational summer program.
83% of scholars felt that the adults at Summer Advantage care about them.
Thank you to all our partner organizations and donors who contribute to making Summit54 programming possible
Platinum Level Donors
Melvyn & Bren Simon Charitable Foundation
Roaring Fork School District RE-1
Wend II, Inc.
The Foundation for a Stable Childhood