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Give a Summer for School D_20150425

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Analysis of the summer participation, future summer plans, and barriers to summer programs for a Boston area public middle school. (Give a Summer's School D. Report from April 2015)

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Give a Summer for School D_20150425

  1. 1. GIVE A SUMMER FOR SCHOOL D Analysis of the summer participation, future summer plans, and barriers to summer programs for a Boston area public middle school’s students (grades 6 – 8) and areas for action. Prepared by Give a Summer ramon@giveasummer.org GiveaSummer.org April 2015
  2. 2. Background on report • This is the public version of a report prepared by Give a Summer for a Boston area public middle school analyzing the summer participation, future plans, and barriers facing their middle school students. • With the school’s approval, Give a Summer is releasing a public version of the report as an example for how a community might ask and begin to answer these questions. • Give a Summer believes that getting communities to collect data about where and why kids miss out on summer programs will: • improve youth access to summer programs by identifying high-need areas and barriers to summer program participation • As Give a Summer believes this report shows, figuring out which barriers matter and where are the best opportunities to expand summer access is not obvious beforehand, and as Give a Summer believes future investigations will show, those answers vary significantly across different communities. • strengthen advocacy efforts by clarifying the need for opportunities • increase public accountability for improvement 2
  3. 3. Outline of presentation • Executive Summary • Findings: Previous summer participation • Findings: Previous summer enjoyment • Findings: Upcoming summer plans • Findings: Barriers to summer participation • Areas for action • Areas for investigation • Appendix 3 Slide # 4 7 8 9 11 14 16 17
  4. 4. Executive summary: key facts Past attendance: 60% of all students attended a summer program last summer, with participation dropping from 70% for 7th graders to 50% for 8th graders. Satisfaction: Kids enjoy their programs: 75% said they enjoy or somewhat enjoy their programs, which holds true across grades. • 70% of 8th graders fully agreed that they enjoyed their program, though only 20% of 7th graders said the same. Future plans: 25% of students want to attend a summer program next year, with another 40% unsure. 8th graders stand out for the most interest, with 7th graders reporting the least. Barriers: The three biggest barriers to summer participation are i) family vacation conflicts, ii) lack of interest in summer programs, iii) and disinterest in available program options. • The barriers are greatest for 6th graders and lowest for 8th graders. Neighborhood differences: [Give a Summer removed commentary on neighborhood variation in summer program participation, interest, and barriers to preserve the confidentiality of its school partner] 4
  5. 5. Executive summary: key takeaways Good work: Summer program participation is fairly high compared to Boston-area and MA averages. But students need support from schools and parents: More students participated in programs last year than said they want to participate in a program this summer, suggesting strong and necessary parental, school, and community support to help students get excited about and attend programs. Fight the 7th grade slump: Attendance falls from 70% to 50% from the summer before 7th grade to the summer after 7th grade. Highlight programs that are low cost or have flexible schedules to accommodate family vacation plans: In addition to lack of student interest, these were the biggest barriers to participation. Given the key role of parents to eventual program participation, include them in this outreach. Personalize support to students with one or two ‘killer’ barriers. 35 students are unsure about attending a program but have only one or two obstacles that are a big deal. Outreach to these students could be particularly effective to help them find programs that avoid ‘killer’ obstacles. Use student-level data on barriers to effectively connect students (and families) with programs that match their needs. The accompanying Excel file has student-level data on attendance and summer program barriers – as well as other information, such as which students have ‘killer’ barriers – to help effectively and efficiently connect students with summer programs that match their needs. 5
  6. 6. Executive summary: key questions How can the school help 7th graders enjoy their upcoming summer programs like 8th graders did? • What explains the substantial difference between 7th and 8th graders in their enjoyment of summer programs? How are the programs they are going to similar or different? Are there any differences in school support for 6th vs. 7th graders in the spring that helped last year’s 7th graders find programs they enjoyed more? • Impact: increase student enjoyment of programs (and increase future program participation) What are parent perspectives on barriers to summer program participation? • This question is particularly important given how students’ plans for summer participation are well behind their actual summer program participation, suggesting that parents and the school play a large role in supporting eventual program participation. • Impact: improve efforts to expand summer access by incorporating influential parent perspective When and for how long do families take vacations? • Depending on when and for how long families take vacations, there are different ways to best support summer opportunities for students: highlighting programs in July for families that take August vacations or recommending week by week programs for families that travel in July. • Impact: better target communication and suggestions to students’ and families’ needs. 6
  7. 7. Findings: summer program participation 7 • About 60% of kids attended a summer program last year, though participation fell from 70% for 7th graders to 50% for 8th graders. • No meaningful geographic variation (see appendix for detail). Did you attend a summer program last summer?
  8. 8. Findings: summer program enjoyment 8 • Kids enjoy their programs: 75% said they enjoy or somewhat enjoy their programs, which holds true across grades. • Substantial variation in the percent of students who fully agreed that they enjoyed their programs, with only 20% of 7th graders but 70% of 8th graders saying so. Did you enjoy the program?
  9. 9. Findings: upcoming summer plans 9 • Only ¼ of students want to attend a program this summer, with 1/3 not sure yet. • Planned attendance was lowest for 7th graders. This is consistent with their lower satisfaction with last year’s summer programs. 7th grade plans for this coming summer are significantly lower than the 70% attendance for those students last year. Do you want to attend a summer program this coming summer?
  10. 10. Findings: upcoming summer plans vs. previous participation 10 • Students’ reported interest in attending summer programs lags behind their attendance in programs last summer. See examples below for 6th and 7th graders. • This reveals a key role for parents and the school to help students get excited about and attend programs (that students then largely enjoy – see slide 7).
  11. 11. Findings: description of different barriers 11 • Students were asked to rate how important various potential barriers were to participating in summer programs. • Below, the text of those barriers is presented and barriers are grouped into categories. • Students rated barriers as a “Big deal”, “Small deal”, or “Does not apply” • Those descriptions were converted to scores: “Big deal” is a 2, “Small deal” is 1, “Does not apply” is 0
  12. 12. Findings: barriers to summer participation 12 • “Conflict with family vacation” was the largest barrier to summer program participation, with lack of interest and lack of excitement about summer options close behind. • Expense of programs, transportation, and childcare responsibilities at home were also sizable barriers. • The impact of each barrier is lowest on 8th graders, highest on 6th graders (see appendix).
  13. 13. Findings: barriers to summer participation based on previous attendance 13 • By and large, students rated barriers the same regardless of whether they attended a program last year or not. This is true across grades (see appendix) & neighborhoods. • Exception is “Went but didn’t like it,” but that naturally applies more to students who attended. • That finding suggests other factors – such as parent support – are the decisive factors in program participation. This is consistent with previous student participation in programs outpacing students’ plans to participate in summer programs (see slide 10). • Still, differences in student enthusiasm and interest in programs between students who did and did not attend suggests getting students excited matters some too. See dark green.
  14. 14. Areas for action (1) 14 • School, parent, and community support is key. Actual program attendance outpaces student plans for attendance, suggesting strong and crucial external guidance and support for youth. • Fight the 7th grade slump. Attendance falls from 70% to 50% from the summer before 7th grade to the summer after 7th grade. Current 7th graders are a tough audience with the lowest program satisfaction. • Idea: Learn from 8th graders’ high satisfaction with programs to find great programs to recommend and for peer encouragement. • Work around vacation plans: “Conflicts with family vacation” was the biggest barrier to summer participation, with 30% of kids rating it “a big deal.” • Idea: look for and highlight summer programs with flexible schedules
  15. 15. Areas for action (2) 15 • Personalize support to students with ‘killer’ barriers. 35 students are unsure about attending a program but have only one or two obstacles that are a big deal. • Idea: Outreach to these students could be particularly effective to help them find programs that avoid ‘killer’ obstacles. • Use student-level data on barriers to effectively connect students (and families) with programs that match their needs. The attached Excel file has student-level data on attendance and summer program barriers – as well as other information, such as which students have ‘killer’ barriers – to help effectively and efficiently connect students with summer programs that match their needs.
  16. 16. Areas for investigation 16 • What are parent perspectives on barriers to summer program participation? • For example, students don’t rate difficulty signing up for programs as that big a deal, though teachers often describe this as a big challenge. What do parents think? • Why did 8th graders enjoy their programs so much more than 7th graders? Are they going to different programs or getting different support that helps them find programs they like? • When and for how long do families take vacations? • How do students’ plans for summer participation compare to their actual summer participation?
  17. 17. Appendix 17 • Methodology and response rates • Distribution of barrier ratings • Barrier ratings by grade • Barrier ratings by previous attendance and grade • Findings from student comments Slide # 18 20 21 22 23
  18. 18. Appendix: methodology 18 • Survey (example is linked here) is given to all of the school’s middle school students, with student ID, grade, and classroom prepopulated. • All responses about previous summer experiences and upcoming experiences are counted. • If a student responds “Does not apply” to all barriers AND does not leave a comment, their barrier scores (but not their responses about previous summer experiences or upcoming summer plans) are not counted. • Rationale: If a student marks “Does not apply” to every barrier and gives no explanation, then we are not left with anything to go on. It also suggests the student may not have thoughtfully engaged with the barriers part of the survey.
  19. 19. Appendix: survey response rates 19 • Survey received a high response rate overall that was consistent across grades. • A few 6th graders who were supposed to take the survey left the school before they could complete it. • Few students’ barriers scores were not counted. The effect of counting their responses would have just lowered all barrier scores by 10%.
  20. 20. Appendix: distribution of barrier ratings 20 • “Conflict with family vacation” is notable for having a relatively high percentage (30% of students) for whom it is a big deal, even relative to other barriers with a similar average score. • Suggests “conflict with family vacation” is a promising obstacle to target with focused outreach to students for whom it is a big deal.
  21. 21. Appendix: barriers by grade 21 • The impact of each barrier is lowest on 8th graders, highest on 6th graders.
  22. 22. Appendix: barriers by previous attendance and grade 22 • Consistent story across grades • Major exception is “Programs don’t interest me” in 8th grade, with students who attended programs rating that as far less of a barrier than students who did not attend. • This is consistent with 8th graders lower participation in programs but with a high percentage who enjoyed the programs they went to. There is perhaps an opportunity in 8th grade to share programs that students went to last summer with students who didn’t attend one.
  23. 23. Appendix: breakdown of additional student comments 23 • Student comments reveal diversity of student concerns and preferences • No additional issue not on survey was strongly raised in comments

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