Advancing Equity through Summer and School Year Partnerships Recap and Resources

According to The Aspen Institute’s “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope” report, school-community coordination is critical to supporting children’s well-being. Building on this, new research from the National Academies of Sciences, titled “Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth,” highlights the role of summertime – a unique opportunity to foster such cross-sector partnerships.

The importance of these partnerships are more important than ever before, given the trauma, adversity, food insecurity, and other disruptions that children and families are experiencing.

This webinar shared best practices and great examples of school and community collaboration to support children’s mental and physical health. The bulk of the session was focused on participant engagement, allowing all attendees to share how they are approaching summer and fall learning in these unprecedented times.

Attendees were asked to share their answers to four critical questions:

  1. In your community, how are summer programs/out-of-school time and schools collaborating? How are these partnerships happening?
  2. How can summer and school-year collaboration support the physical and social-emotional health of all students, especially children experiencing trauma? What family engagement strategies are you using? What about students with chronic health conditions?
  3. How can partnerships help all children get ready for the school-year? How can collaboration help students develop career skills this summer?
  4. What resources are working to help give young people a voice? How can collaboration help students take action?

On this page you’ll find the powerpoint presentation, the full recording of the conversation, an interactive transcript, highlights from the rich chat conversation, and a wide range of resources.


  • Brodrick Clarke, Director of Technical Training, National Summer Learning Association
  • Aaron Dworkin, CEO, National Summer Learning Association
  • Daniel Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

This session was presented in partnership with Every Hour Counts and the Afterschool Alliance, and is made possible by generous support from the Wallace Foundation.

Resources Mentioned by Panelists and Attendees

Blogs, Articles, and Reports

Karen’s comment from the chat: “The basic point of the blog is that academic subject proficiency definitely slips in summer, with gaps greater for lower-income, BIPOC kids.  But this summer in particular we need to recognize the broader losses that are happening and the broader opportunities for learning if young people are being encouraged to learn/use skills and take on responsibilities, albeit not strictly academic. This broader, flexible approach to learning is why summer has been so important for combating academic learning loss and increasing broader competencies.”

Organizations Mentioned

  • Learning Heroes: The Mission of Learning Heroes is to inform and equip parents to best support their children’s educational and developmental success.
  • Lydia Hill: From Me 2 U Inc. is offering virtual life coaching services for parents, high school students, and young adults.   They are working on virtual clubs for younger youth for the Fall.
  • Sports Foundations Mentioned by Aaron Dworkin:
  • Crystal Harding: Impact Sac actively has youth advisory board meetings to help youth create a voice for themselves and talk about what programs and policies they want to see changed or modified.
  • Aaron Dworkin: has great tools and systems for recruiting and matching mentors.

Upcoming Events, Camps, Convenings


Guides, Games, Tools, Apps

  • Kalisha Davis: The Summer Starts in September Program Planning Guide is a comprehensive summer learning program planning guide full of research-based strategies, program examples and tools that program leaders can use to develop an intentional and high-impact program.

In my past experience, partnerships with libraries, grassroots organizations, cultural institutions, and others have offered unique ways for youth to learn and build critical skills. Detroit Design 2067 is a program I developed as director of community engagement at Detroit Historical Society as part of our commemoration of the 1967 uprising. Youth learn design thinking and serve as consultants for community partners to help them solve a problem they are grappling with. It was (and hopefully) will continue to be offered over Spring Break.


Online Resource Guides


Issues Briefs, Campaigns, Funding, Reports

  • National Recreation and Park Association Commit to Health: NRPA’s Commit to Health campaign supports the goals of improving healthy food access, reducing obesity and chronic disease, and fostering social supports at local park and recreation sites. Park and recreation sites can join the national movement to support community health and wellness.
  • STEM & Wellness: A Powerful Equation for Equity by Afterschool Alliance
  • Food Research and Action Center Community Eligibility Provision: The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows more than 30,000 high-poverty schools across the country to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students while eliminating the traditional school meal application process.
  • Karen Pittman: A research team at the University of Pittsburgh conducted an amazing analysis of the arts community ecosystem in Pittsburgh. By a learning ecosystem, they referred to the organizations, individuals, and places that create, participate in, and fuel creative learning experiences.