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Linked Summer Programs for Youth: Opportunities, Challenges, and Innovations

William Penuel and Katrina Brink
Publication Date: 
February, 2010

This issue brief summarizes findings from an analysis 26 linked summer programs across the United States. Linked programs are sites that connect what happens in school, after school, and in summer settings. This review focused on well-established programs that researchers, funders, and peers identified as innovative and successful in reaching low-income students. Program providers included school districts, community based organizations, and a county education agency. Researchers at the Gardner Center conducted both telephone and in-person interviews with staff, and observed selected programs during the summer of 2009. The David and Lucille Packard Foundation funded the study to inform policymaking and clarify potential funding priorities regarding summer learning programs. The issue brief contains four sections detailing 1) opportunities; 2) challenges; 3) innovations in response to challenges; and, 4) considerations for what is needed to further build the field of linked summer learning programs.

Suggested citation: 

Penuel, W.R. and Brink, K. (2010). Linked summer programs for youth: opportunities, challenges, and innovations. Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities. 

Policy area: 
Out-of-School Time