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N.C. schools combat “summer slide” with Summer Learning Blitz

CoSN member Valerie Truesdale tells how two programs at Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in North Carolina aim to help students avoid "summer brain drain."

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summer studying


This post is sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking

Summer vacation is eagerly anticipated by students and teachers – – eight weeks of out-of-school time. But it harbors a built-in risk that we call “Summer Slide,” when academic ground gained during the school year can be lost without targeted summer learning.

But it doesn’t have to happen that way. All of us at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in Charlotte, North Carolina know that learning can occur anywhere, anytime, thanks to  digital learning resources. These technology tools allow us to engage students and foster their curiosity. CMS’ Digital Learning Conversion initiative is designed to increase student engagement, in the classroom and beyond.

In 2015, CMS launched two initiatives targeted at combating summer learning loss: Summer Learning Blitz and OneAccess.

Summer Learning Blitz is a program designed to encourage students to continue learning using digital learning tools such as DreamBox math, Reading A to Z (RAZ Kids), Compass Learning and Discovery Ed, to name a few. These tools are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. A list of resources is available on the district’s website. Students log their learning sessions and can earn prizes for participating in the program. Last summer, more than 90 percent of our schools participated in the Summer Learning Blitz.

The program also provides training to summer care providers, faith partners and parents. The district’s Technology Services and Engagement department manages the training. Parent communications in April and May remind parents how to access the Web-based digital tools.

In fall 2015, we launched OneAccess, a collaboration between CMS and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library that allows students to use their school identification numbers to access all library resources — digital and print — anytime, anywhere. So far, more than 110,000 students have used OneAccess to tap into the vast collection of resources at 22 public libraries.

These CMS summer programs offer a great opportunity for our partners to support our students during out-of-school time. The initiatives also make learning resources available to our 147,000 children everywhere, all the time — reducing Summer Slide and turning summer into an extended learning experience.

Valerie Truesdale is the chief officer of technology, personalized learning and engagement for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, an institutional member of CoSN (Consortium for School Networking). Learn more about CoSN at