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Boston Students Begin “5th Quarter” During National Summer Learning Week

5th quarter

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – Students from across Boston this week start the “5th Quarter of Learning,” using the city’s amazing natural and local resources as a classroom to have fun, learn critical life skills, and help slow the summer slide.

Boston students, many of whom can’t afford traditional summer programs, joined city, state and national leaders today at Courageous Sailing on Boston Harbor to showcase Boston’s role as a leader that is inspiring cities across Massachusetts and around the nation to rethink summer learning and enrichment.

“My summer learning experiences at Courageous Sailing have taught me skills I will use in the workplace and in any learning environment: to build connections with the people around me, solve problems, step up and take charge when needed,” said Urvi Gipstein, a Courageous Sailing student instructor and rising junior at Boston Latin School.

More than 47,000 students have benefitted from Boston’s summer learning efforts since its launch in 2010, making it a singular success for the students and families of Boston, Mayor Martin Walsh, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and all its partners.

"The Boston Public Schools' 5th Quarter is a national model for summer learning programming that ensures access to enriching opportunities for every student,” said BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius. “I’m so grateful to Boston After School & Beyond and all of our partner organizations that contribute to this community effort, enabling our youth to remain active and engaged, learning all year round."

At the event, held during National Summer Learning Week, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recognized Boston’s national leadership, acknowledging its model as one that other cities can embrace.

“Boston is leading the way on summer learning,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO of NSLA. “It is a shining example of how a city can mobilize its resources to ensure that kids have incredible learning opportunities like the ones offered here at Courageous Sailing.”

“We are proud that our citywide summer learning partnership serves as a positive example of what the summer months can do for our young people and their ongoing education,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Boston has prioritized helping all students have access to fun and meaningful enrichment activities every summer and we are excited to host the National Summer Learning Association to share with others the impact of the 5th Quarter on our students, families, and communities.”

As an example of summer learning excellence in Boston, NSLA presented Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center with the 2019 Lands’ End Love Learning Summer Learning Award. Over the last 15 years, Thompson Island is the fifth recipient from Boston to receive NSLA’s Excellence in Summer Learning Awards, supported by the New York Life Foundation.

Boston’s summer learning system, now known as the 5th Quarter of Learning, has tallied over $20 million in public and private investment, including nearly $3.2 million from BPS this year. Most recently, Massachusetts allocated more than $500,000 to extend summer learning to 19 communities across the state in order to develop and expand high quality programming for 2,200 students this summer.

“The Department is pleased to support the expansion of summer learning initiatives across the Commonwealth,” Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley said. “This investment will help keep students learning, growing, questioning and collaborating in the months when school is out.”

Boston After School & Beyond, which co-manages the 5th Quarter of Learning with the Boston Public Schools, released a “Summer For All” report at the event, detailing lessons learned from the initiative’s 10-year history.

"The growth of the 5th Quarter shows what can happen when leaders from the public, philanthropic, and nonprofits leaders pursue a shared goal over time,” said Chris Smith, Executive Director of Boston After School & Beyond.

Other cities across the nation have taken note of and adapted models similar to Boston, including Albuquerque, Charleston, and Nashville.  “We came into office with a goal of increasing summer program access, and over the last year and a half we’ve seen enrollment grow to almost 25,000 young people,” said Tim Keller, Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Seeing Boston’s initiative in person helped focus our efforts and successfully see our programs take off.”