Creative collaboratives help curb the learning loss many students experience during the out-of-school months.
During summer vacation, many students lose some of the academic skills they learned in the previous school year. Research shows that students from lower-income neighborhoods experience the greatest decline when they re-enter the classroom in the fall. United Way invests in collaborative projects that prevent summer learning loss by engaging students in activities that reinforce academic skills during the out-of-school months.
Summer learning looked radically different this past year because of COVID-19, but United Way-supported summer learning projects continued with partners pivoting to virtual and hybrid models. This past summer, 14 grant-funded projects kept nearly 800 young people engaged, learning, and safe during the summer months.
United Way M.A.T.H. (Mastering Algebra Together Houston), a partnership with ConocoPhillips, continues to help students build algebra skills outside of the classroom through M.A.T.H. Camp and M.A.T.H. in a Flash. We found creative ways to keep learning alive this past summer, including a partnership with YMCA of Greater Houston - Texans Site to bring United Way M.A.T.H. Camp to 30 students. M.A.T.H. Camp helped students sharpen their skills and avoid summer learning loss. Each child in the program walked away with a brand-new iPad and keyboard to aid in their learning and help close the digital divide exacerbated by the pandemic.
In partnership with ConocoPhillips and Houston Public Media, we continued United Way M.A.T.H. in a Flash, a series of animated math problems that air during PBS Kids programs and help children solve problems and learn about multiplication, fractions, graphing, angles, and shapes. This year, a new Problem Solvers component featured ConocoPhillips employees explaining key concepts and how they use math in their jobs.
Out 2 Learn is a partnership between United Way of Greater Houston, Houston Endowment, the City of Houston, and the Harris County Department of Education’s CASE for Kids, committed to improving the quality of and expanding access to out-of-school programs in our community. This year, Out 2 Learn funded 18 projects to help remove barriers, including language, technology, and cost barriers, that stop youth and families from participating in out-of-school programming. These projects touched the lives of 1,388 youth and 385 parents and caregivers.