Contributed by:
Sharp Tutor
Through this report, We try to share best practices from secondary sources, publicly available research, academic literature, advice from educational experts, and guidance from state agencies. The report also includes information, strategies, and innovative ideas from notable districts’ learning recovery programs.
December 2020
INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................. 3
KEY FINDINGS...................................................................................................................................................... 3
SECTION I: ADDITIONAL LEARNING TIME .......................................................................................... 4
Extended School Year ................................................................................................................................................................. 4
Extended School Periods and Days ....................................................................................................................................... 4
Instructional Solutions ............................................................................................................................................................... 6
SECTION II: ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS ......................................................... 12
After-School Programs ........................................................................................................................................................... 12
Acceleration Academies ......................................................................................................................................................... 13
School-Based Summer Learning Programs ..................................................................................................................... 14
Long-Term Recovery Strategies .......................................................................................................................................... 18
©2020 Hanover Research 2
3. Districts across the United States require exploration of research-based supports for student academic
recovery from learning lost due to COVID-19 pandemic-related extended school closures. Early planning is
essential in order to direct resources to effectively manage this crisis with cost-efficient strategies. As the
research suggests, programs will need to go beyond typical remediation or enrichment opportunities
accommodated by existing after-school or summer school programs. 1 Hanover Research (Hanover) has
prepared the following report to inform member districts’ learning recovery program development. In this
report, Hanover shares best practices from secondary sources, publicly available research, academic
literature, advice from educational experts, and guidance from state agencies. The report also includes
information, strategies, and innovative ideas from notable districts’ learning recovery programs.
This report is divided into two sections:
Section I – Additional Learning Time summarizes the research for adding learning time within the structure of
existing programs (e.g., regular school year, existing summer school, school days and periods).
Section II – Additional Instructional Programs describes research-based strategies for adapting district-wide
programs (e.g., after-school, acceleration academies, summer school) for the anticipated increase in learning
needs of students as the result of COVID-19 learning loss.
A district- or school-wide high-dosage, one-on-one tutoring program is one of the most cost-
efficient ways to improve academic performance and learning recovery. Of all educational
interventions, one-on-one tutoring multiple times weekly for students struggling in reading and
math shows the largest educational performance improvement effect sizes. Although one-on-one
tutoring costs several thousand dollars per student annually, districts can defray costs through
grants, community partnerships, and Title I funds for tutorial programs.
Additional in-school strategies to remediate student learning loss include adding time to
learning, looping, creating individualized learning plans, and cross-grade collaboration. In
particular, looping, or having a teacher instruct the same class of students for consecutive years,
allows students and teachers to continue strengthening existing relationships, a crucial factor in
supporting students’ learning recovery following traumas such as COVID-19. Looping also leads
to test score gains, keeps more students in general education programs, improves school
attendance, and provides teachers the ability to build continuity and hold students accountable for
learning between school years with summer work.
Integrating school-day classroom instruction into after-school curricula helps tailor such
programs to better assist in learning loss recovery. For example, a district that partnered with the
YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club to add 100 minutes of after-school instruction at three schools
found that students at two of the three participating schools saw test score improvement higher
than the district average.
Creating and expanding community partnerships helps districts create and implement cost-
efficient programs such as one-one-one tutoring, after-school programs, and summer learning.
Community partnerships creates external sources of funding, shared resources (e.g., facilities), and
utilizes trained volunteers from service programs (e.g., AmeriCorps).
Carvalho, S. et al. “Planning for School Reopening and Recovery After COVID-19: An Evidence Kit for Policymakers.” Center for
Global Development, 2020. p. 12.
©2020 Hanover Research 3
In this section, Hanover reviews effective strategies, programs, and resources to develop and utilize in-school,
out-of-school, and summer learning for learning recovery, including cost-efficient and cost-neutral elements.
This section includes profiles of districts with exemplary programs as well as specific strategies that can be
employed at the district or school level.
Recent studies recommend extending the school year to promote learning recovery. A study from early
2020 suggests districts start the school year earlier or extend it into the summer as one strategy to ensure
students receive sufficient instruction time for adequate subsequent grade-level preparation.2 According to
another 2020 study focusing on the effects of COVID-19 on student proficiency in Atlanta, increasing the
school year by up to five percent for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years will recoup learning loss
for all students in less than four years. This prediction is based on a model the authors developed after
examining data from annual summer learning loss and the impacts of extended school closures as the result
of previous natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey.3
Other studies on extending the school year found elementary school, low-income, and struggling students
benefit from extended school years.4 However, the studies also suggest that unless all learning days are used
efficiently, additional school days do not significantly help students improve their academic results.5
Notably, many other studies on extended school years were inconclusive.6 For example, a five-year study of
Kindergarten-3rd grade students who started school significantly earlier than a control group for multiple
summers found that after four years, students saw a 0.1 percent standard deviation improvement (SDI) in
reading and math and 0.15 SDI in writing. However, “Only 18 percent of the students attended three of the
four summers the program was conducted so the researchers had to estimate the program effectiveness.”7
Based on this and other inconclusive results, districts should ensure teaching and learning is consistently
rigorous regardless of the length of the school year. Professional development to prepare teachers for
additional school days and frequent communication with students and parents about expectations will ensure
school communities are prepared to use additional time efficiently.
Districts that find extended school years too disruptive to family and/or community routines may choose
to consider less disruptive strategies such as extending school days or content periods. Academic recovery
strategies have historically relied on the use of additional instructional time to address learning loss.
However, some districts apprehensive about extending summer school or extending the school year are
looking into other, more localized options for adding instructional time.8 For example, Grade 9 students in
Chicago Public Schools (IL), profiled in Figure 1.1, received double math time and as a result saw significant
“State Policies to Address COVID-19 School Closure.” Institute for Public Policy and Social Research-Michigan State University.
“Quantifying the Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Metro Atlanta Student Proficiency.” EmpowerK-12, June 10, 2020. p. 9.
[1]“Extended School Year.” Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 2010. p. 3. [2] Redd, Z.
et al. “Expanding Time for Learning Both Inside and Outside the Classroom: A Review of the Evidence Base.” American
Psychological Association, August 2012. p. 10.
“Extended School Year,” Op. cit., p. 2.
Redd et al., Op. cit., p. 2.
Wentworth, K. “Research Study Yields Unexpected Conclusion About Longer School Years.” University of New Mexico Newsroom,
March 22, 2016.
“From Crisis to Recovery: The Education Impact of COVID-19.” Advance Illinois, April 2020, p. 29.
©2020 Hanover Research 4
5. improvement in algebra test scores and better long-term outcomes, including increased educational
Figure 1.1: Chicago Public Schools (IL)
CPS required all Grade 9 students with low math test scores to enroll in a full-year regular algebra course
and a simultaneous algebra support class, usually taught by the same teacher. Teachers in the program
received new curricula to use and additional professional development. Teachers received professional
development in using extra instructional time to promote complex math thinking through student-
centered instructional practices. The extra time enabled teachers to feel like they could take risks with
new modes of instruction. Students who received the double dose treatment showed larger gains in
algebra scores – equivalent to about an extra quarter of a year of growth – and their algebra GPAs were
about a quarter of a point higher. The gains were greatest for students whose prior math scores were
between the 20th and 50th percentiles.
Source: Annenberg Institute10
Additional learning time is most effective with strong student attendance. Research on extended learning
time clearly highlights the importance of attendance in extended learning efficacy. Therefore, schools must
ensure high levels of participation in any extended learning opportunities offered to students. 11
An extended school day has a statistically significant positive effect on students’ academic performance. 12
However, the academic effects of longer school days are mixed. A 2013 study found that a certain amount of
extended school time improves student academic performance.13 Yet, some school districts studied by the
Massachusetts Department of Education in 2006-2007 saw improvements while others did not. The study
cited the differences in learning models and the communities they serve make results unreliable. 14 The
effectiveness of longer school days on increased student academic performance also depends on other
factors such as instructional quality, class size, student ability, and the classroom environment. 15
The cost of longer school days varies by district. A study by the National Center on Time Learning of the
effects of extended school days at five districts showed costs were between $290 to $2,031 annually per
student. When broken down into costs per hour per student, the added costs ranged from $2.20 to $5.23 per
student. 16 Another study indicated that extended day programs, on average, cost approximately $800
annually per student. 17 Although extending school days is not inexpensive, learning recovery and
Cortes, K., J. Goodman, and T. Nomi. “A Double Dose of Algebra.” Education Next, December 15, 2012.
Figure contents quoted verbatim with minor modifications from: Allensworth, E. and N. Schwartz. “School Practices to Address
Student Learning Loss.” Annenberg Institute at Brown University-EdResearch for Recovery, June 2020. p. 3.
“From Crisis to Recovery: The Education Impact of COVID-19,” Op. cit., p. 29.
Kidron, Y. and J.J. Lindsay. “The Effects of Increased Learning Time on Student Academic and Nonacademic Outcomes: Findings from
a Meta‑Analytic Review.” Institute of Education Sciences, July 2014. pp. 10-13. Accessed from ResearchGate.
Rivkin, S.G. and J.C. Schiman. “Instruction Time, Classroom Quality, and Academic Achievement.” National Bureau of Economic
Research, September 2013. p. 24.
Walker, T. “A 9 to 5 School Day: Are Longer Hours Better for Students and Educators?” National Education Association, November
22, 2016.
Rivkin and Schiman, Op. cit., p. 25.
Kaplan, C. et al. “Financing Expanded Learning Time in Schools.” National Center on Time Learning, January 2014. p. 6.
Figlio, D., K. Holden, and U. Ozek. “Do Students Benefit from Longer School Days? Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida’s
Additional Hour of Literacy Instruction.” August 2018. p. 8.
©2020 Hanover Research 5
6. performance improvement alternatives such as shrinking class sizes can cost between $2,000 and $4,000
annually, based on teacher bonuses for instructing additional students beyond regular classroom sizes. 18
Figure 1.2 describes the State of Florida’s implementation and positive academic effects of longer school days
across low-performing schools.
Figure 1.2: Academic Impacts of Longer School Days in Florida
In 2012, Florida lengthened the school day by an hour in its 100 lowest-performing elementary schools
and increased the program to 300 schools beginning in fall 2014. During the program’s first year, students
saw “effects of 0.05 standard deviations of improvement in reading test scores for program assignment.” 19
According to Chalkbeat, this translates to “the equivalent of one to three months of extra learning.
Another way to look at it: The most optimistic estimate is that the program closed about a third of the gap
in the reading scores between the best schools in Florida and average schools.” 20
Sources: Multiple21
Additionally, districts may consider hiring or asking teachers willing to conduct remote instruction at atypical
times (e.g., nights and weekends) for students who cannot attend additional in-person learning time.22
Beyond programmatic shifts to the school schedule, other school-level strategies exist that can maximize
learning time and make learning recovery more attainable. Because these micro-level strategies can be
adopted by principals or individual teachers, they are much easier to promote and implement. However, they
also tend to be harder to manage, sustain, and evaluate.
Districts can facilitate vertical curricular review and collaboration across grade levels and courses to
account for anticipated learning loss. Vertical curricular review refers to ensuring “what students learn in
one lesson, course, or grade level prepares them for the next lesson, course, or grade level.” 23 This process
requires teachers instructing different grade-levels to work together to understand individual students’
learning needs. Formalizing the vertical curricular review and cross-grade collaboration process into a school-
or district-wide expectation would ensure teachers account for all students’ learning gaps. Districts, schools,
and teachers can also institute this systemic approach among and between professional learning communities
As part of a cross-grade collaboration, teachers should identify 2019-20 school year competency, topic, and
skill gaps due to COVID-19-related school closures in consultation with students’ prior-year teachers and
Hansen, M. “Right-Sizing the Classroom: Making the Most of Great Teachers.” National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in
Education Research-American Institutes for Research, 110, January 2014. p. 30.
Figlio, Holden, and Ozek, Op. cit., p. iii.
Zhou, A. “Florida Made Days Longer at Low-Performing Schools. It Helped.” Chalkbeat, August 16, 2018.
Figure contents adapted and quoted verbatim from: [1] Figlio, Holden, and Ozek, Op. cit., p. 7. [2] Zhou, Op. cit.
Zalaznick, M. “Why These 4 Areas Are Key in Tackling COVID Learning Loss.” District Administration, December 1, 2020.
“Coherent Curriculum Definition.” The Glossary of Education Reform, March 3, 2014.
©2020 Hanover Research 6
7. develop plans to address these gaps beyond the 2020-2021 school year. Figure 1.3 lists five actions to help
districts and schools create a foundation for further learning interventions.
Figure 1.3: Five Actions for Creating Foundations for Future Interventions
Action 1 Prioritize attendance and check-ins with families and students multiple times weekly.
Action 2 Teach grade-level for all core courses.
Action 3 Use a core curriculum across the district and avoid using online supplements.
Action 4 Ensure teachers have uninterrupted teaching time.
If health and logistics permit a hybrid schedule, prioritize in-person instruction for students needing
Action 5 extra help and those in transition grades (Grades 1, 6, and 9).
Source: Education Week24
Another structural innovation shown to improve student achievement and recover learning loss is looping.
This strategy, defined as “the practice in which a teacher instructs the same group of students for at least two
school years, following them from one grade level to the next,” helps students with academic performance
and attendance (see Figure 1.4).25 In one study of “looping” in elementary school classrooms, students showed
“small but significant test score gains for students assigned to the same teacher for a second time in a higher
Figure 1.4: The “Looping” Cycle
Year One: A
teachers instructs
a particular grade
level (e.g., 2nd
Year Two: The
Year Three: The
teacher serves as
teacher returns to
the instructor for
teaching the
the same class
original grade
(e.g., the teacher
level (e.g., 2nd
also serves as the
Grade) and the
3rd Grade
cycle repeats
Source: American Association of School Administrators27
Figure contents adapted from: Sawchuk, S. “COVID-19’s Harm to Learning Is Inevitable. How Schools Can Start to Address It.”
Education Week, August 19, 2020.
Cistone, P. and A. Shneyderman. “Looping: An Empirical Evaluation.” International Journal of Educational Policy, Research, and Practice:
Reconceptualizing Childhood Studies, 5:1, Spring 2004.
Hill, A.J. and D.B. Jones. “A Teacher Who Knows Me: The Academic Benefits of Repeat Student-Teacher Matches.” Economics of
Education Review, 64, June 2018. p. 1.
Figure contents adapted from: “In the Loop.” AASA | American Association of School Administrators.
©2020 Hanover Research 7
8. While looping has several potential benefits, such as keeping more students in general education programs
and improved attendance, arguably the most important looping benefit is that students and teachers can
deepen their connections with one another. 28 Ensuring this continuity of existing relationships is even more
critical as a result of COVID-19. Students who have experienced trauma (e.g., COVID-19) benefit from
consistency in the classroom environment, classroom procedures, and instruction, as they can be triggered
by sudden changes in routine, a lack of structure, or unclear boundaries. 29 Consequently, looping would likely
promote a stable and consistent learning environment to assist with long-term learning recovery.
Looping also allows teachers to give students summer work building on the exact content and style of
previous academic material. As the same teacher assigns and grades student work with this model, students
receive consistent feedback and have fewer ways of avoiding completing summer work. 30 Therefore, when
designing summer learning programs, districts should include “looped” teachers in the planning process or, if
possible, assign them to teach their students during these sessions.
Additionally, looping serves as a practical, relatively low-cost strategy for districts to promote learning
recovery by utilizing teachers’ existing training and skills. 31 Indeed, teachers at some schools conduct
instruction across two grades with other teachers for better-differentiated instruction.32 However, parents
and administrators worry about the impacts of a student having an ineffective teacher across multiple years
and the impacts of a poor, multi-year student-teacher relationship. Figure 1.5 lists the advantages and
disadvantages of looping for and on student achievement.
Figure 1.5: Advantages and Disadvantages of Looping
▪ Stronger bonds between parents and teachers,
teachers and students, and students and
▪ Personality conflicts between students or between
teacher and student may be exacerbated;
▪ Greater support for children who need stabilizing
▪ Students may get an ineffective teacher for multiple
influences in their lives;
▪ A greater knowledge of students' strengths and
▪ Teachers may move, retire, or change professions
weaknesses, allowing for increased opportunities
before the loop cycle is finished;
for teachers to tailor curriculum to individual
▪ Student exposure to new teaching styles is limited;
▪ New students entering looped classes after the first
▪ Increased opportunities for shy students as well
year are at a disadvantage and may change the
as others to develop self-confidence I familiar
classroom dynamics;
▪ After two years, mild separation anxiety may occur
▪ Reduced anxiety about a new school year; and
between the teacher and students or between
▪ As typical transition periods at the beginning of
the second school year are unnecessary, learning
time can increase by weeks or months.
Source: Education World33
“Trauma-Informed Teaching Tips for Educators & Traumatized Students.” Concordia University.
“In the Loop,” Op. cit.
Hill and Jones, Op. cit., p. 19.
Gewertz, C. “How Schools Can Redeploy Teachers in Creative Ways During COVID-19 - Education Week.” Education Week, August 5,
Figure contents quoted with modifications from: Bafile, C. “In the Loop: Students and Teachers Progressing Together.” Education
World, May 25, 2009.
©2020 Hanover Research 8
9. For students struggling in math and reading, one-on-one high-dosage tutoring (three times weekly, 50
hours per semester) can improve learning outcomes and make up for learning loss. 34 Tutoring effect sizes
are the largest of all educational interventions, with a 2016 Harvard study finding the following effects for
high-dosage tutoring:35
Math: 20 times more effective than low-dosage tutoring
Reading: 15 times more effective than low-dosage tutoring
Types of tutors vary across school districts. Many tutors are off-duty teachers who teach full-time and tutor
over the weekend or in the evening. Others are independent retired teachers, college students, or
career/industry professionals unaligned with tutoring programs. Still others are part of specific, organized
programs such as Reading Recovery, or they can be recent college graduates in programs including
AmeriCorps, the Boston MATCH Education program (Match), and the Chicago SAGA Education (SAGA).36 No
matter where tutors come from, in order for tutoring to be most effective, the same individuals must conduct
high-dosage tutoring to help students achieve accelerated learning recovery.
Districts with the financial resources to implement an extensive, high-dosage tutoring program should do
so. While tutoring programs can cost several thousand dollars annually per student, districts can engage in
measures to reduce costs through grants (e.g., ESSA funding) or business partnerships.37 Despite the high
cost of tutoring programs, economists show that tutoring is a cost-effective strategy for rapid learning
recovery. 38 Governments have recognized the cost-effective impacts of tutoring for promoting learning
recovery. For example, as a result of COVID-19, the United Kingdom created a £1 billion National Tutoring
Programme fund providing money for tutoring students from low-income and disadvantaged households to
close learning gaps and promote learning recovery.39 Additionally, districts are permitted use of Title I funds
for tutorial programs such as Match and SAGA. These programs offer annual stipends to individuals, including
recent college graduates, to serve as math tutors and serve as a potential low-cost tutoring alternative for
Initial results from a summer 2020 online tutoring program created due to COVID-19-related school closures
at a Milwaukee Public Schools (WI) elementary school found “testing showed participants made, on average,
2½ months’ worth of progress in one summer month” (see profile in Figure 1.6).41
[1] Allensworth and Schwartz, Op. cit., p. 1. [2] Sawchuk, S. “High-Dosage Tutoring Is Effective, But Expensive. Ideas for Making It
Work.” Education Week, August 19, 2020.
Bullet contents adapted from: Barshay, J. “Takeaways from Research on Tutoring to Address Coronavirus Learning Loss.” The
Hechinger Report, May 25, 2020.
Darling-Hammond, L., A. Schachner, and A.K. Edgerton. “Restarting and Reinventing School: Learning in the Time of COVID and
Beyond.” Learning Policy Institute, August 2020. p. 72.
[1] Sawchuk, Op. cit. [2] Allensworth and Schwartz, Op. cit., p. 3.
Harris, D. “Toward Policy-Relevant Benchmarks for Interpreting Effect Sizes: Combining Effects With Costs.” Educational Evaluation
and Policy Analysis, 31:1, October 2008. p. 29. Accessed from ResearchGate
Burns, J. “Coronavirus: Poorest Pupils Can Enrol for Catch-Up Tuition.” BBC News, November 2, 2020.
Ander, R., J. Guryan, and J. Ludwig. “Improving Academic Outcomes for Disadvantaged Students: Scaling Up Individualized Tutorials.”
The Hamilton Project, March 2016. p. 6, 12.
Meckler, L. and H. Natanson. “‘A Lost Generation’: Surge of Research Reveals Students Sliding Backward, Most Vulnerable Worst
Affected.” Washington Post, December 6, 2020.
©2020 Hanover Research 9
10. Figure 1.6: Online Summer 2020 Tutorial Program
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) launched a program earlier this year where African American male
mentors worked with Black children to improve their reading. In mid-May, Ralph H. Metcalfe Elementary
School enlisted the support of two service organizations, MKE Fellows and Links, Incorporated, to tutor
and mentor students to prevent a reading and math backslide over the summer. The program was called
the Five Pillars, Metcalfe School Virtual Pilot program. 20 men served as tutors and mentors at Metcalfe,
some participating up to five hours a day. The program served up to 34 students from April 23 through
May 21 to complete the school year, and 25 students from May 26 through June 29. The use of collegiate
tutors who culturally identified with the students allowed for deeper connections and provided them with
an alternative perspective. Of the students participating, 87 percent reported to school daily and all
completed their reading work at grade level or higher.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel42
Districts can use individualized learning plans to assess and address different learning levels caused by
COVID-19 school closures. The Michigan Department of Education outlines several principles districts can
use to create individualized learning plans, including developing weekly schedules and ensuring ongoing
communication with families (see Figure 1.7). 43 These strategies may help account for the wide range of
learning individual students achieved at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Individualized learning plans also
allow districts and schools to develop targeted supports for both academic and social-emotional needs.44
Figure 1.7: Strategies for Developing Individualized Learning Plans
▪ Build on the student’s strengths, interests, and needs; and use this knowledge to affect
learning positively.
STUDENTS AT THE ▪ Develop a weekly plan and schedule that offers routines and structures for
consistency and balancing of think, work, and playtime for health and well-being.
CENTER ▪ Contact families to support student learning through ongoing communication and
collaboration. Communication will not look the same for every student and family—
safety remains the priority. Provide translations as necessary.
▪ Set individual goals for each student using knowledge about them and content area
▪ Consider how to deliver content depending on tools and resources accessible to each
student. Alternative modes of instruction may include the use of online learning,
EQUITY AND ACCESS telephone communications, email, virtual instruction, videos, slideshows, project-
based learning, use of instructional packets, or a combination to meet student needs.
▪ Communicate with families about engagement strategies to support students as they
access the learning as families are critical partners.
Figure contents quoted verbatim with some modifications from: Causey, J.E. “One of the Most Powerful Ways to Close the Racial
Gap in Academic Performance: Black Boys Need to See More Black Men Reading.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 19, 2020.
“Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan (‘Plan’) Application Template.” Michigan Department of Education.
Hess, F. “Chiefs for Change COO Weighs in on Challenges of Coronavirus.” Education Next, April 10, 2020.
©2020 Hanover Research 10
▪ Use a variety of strategies to monitor, assess, and provide feedback to students about
their learning.
ASSESS STUDENT ▪ Use formative assessment results to guide educators’ reflection on instruction's
LEARNING effectiveness and determine the next steps for student learning.
▪ Communicate with families about assessment results to inform them about any
needed next steps.
Source: Michigan Department of Education45
Figure contents quoted verbatim from: “Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan (‘Plan’) Application Template,” Op. cit.
©2020 Hanover Research 11
In this section, Hanover presents programmatic solutions for recovering learning lost as the result of
extended school closures. Summer and after school sessions will be essential programs for districts to plan
for and implement over the next several years. We conclude this section with a case study about one district
taking a long-term approach.
Where efforts to add learning time by extending the school year, day, or period and instructional strategies
to increase learning opportunities during the school day are predicted to be effective, it is likely that many
students will need additional time over the summer or after school if they hope to fully recover lost learning.
Districts will need to begin planning early for summer and after school sessions that include more students
than usual and expect to sustain these programs for years to come.
After-school programs are more effective when instruction from the regular school-day is integrated into
after-school learning plans. For example, Meriden Public Schools (CT) partnered with the YMCA and the
Boys & Girls Club to add 100 minutes of after-school instruction at three schools in the district (see Figure
2.1).46 Students at two of the three participating schools saw test score improvement higher than the district
average, encouraging the district to expand the program to more elementary schools. 47
Figure 2.1: Blending School-Day Classroom Instruction and After-School Curricula Through Community
At the three schools, schedules were reengineered to include the Enrichment Block, a 100-minute time
period for community partners to staff the classrooms as teachers and provide instruction in Meriden’s
three key enrichment areas: STEM, literacy, and healthy living. During the Healthy Living Enrichment
Block, for example, Meriden’s Department of Health and the YMCA provided nutritional classes to
promote students’ health awareness and physical well-being. The University of Connecticut’s
undergraduate students also offered early K-3 literacy programming. Since partners assumed the
instructional role during the Enrichment Block, this strategy alleviated some of the pressure on teachers
to improve students’ academic outcomes during the traditional school day. It also gave teachers greater
freedom and flexibility in their schedules. Utilizing a “best-fit” approach, teachers could choose to instruct
from either 7:30am-2:30pm or 8:30am-3:30pm. Depending on the teacher’s schedule, the Enrichment
Block was placed at either the beginning or end of the school day.
Source: Meriden Public Schools48
Darling-Hammond, Schachner, and Edgerton, Op. cit., p. 73.
“Meriden Public Schools: Redesigning the School Day with Community Partners in Mind.” Meriden Public Schools.
Figure contents quoted verbatim with minor modifications from: Ibid.
©2020 Hanover Research 12
13. As districts return to in-person instruction, partnerships with community organizations can assist in ensuring
after-school instruction aligns with the regular curriculum. 49 These integrated partnerships also allow
teachers to take advantage of additional resources, as the example in Figure 2.2 demonstrates.50
Figure 2.2: Integrated Partnerships
Schools in Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), use several strategies to increase collaboration, such
as including partner staff in monthly faculty meetings and providing regular opportunities for Extended
Learning Time (ELT) staff to meet with teachers. These meetings give ELT and teachers opportunities to
learn about current curricular goals and instructional units. In some Oakland schools, ELT staff are further
integrated into the regular school day; they provide extra assistance to teachers by mentoring students
and conducting pullout sessions for small-group instruction. A study of the implementation of the
community schools’ approach in Oakland highlighted one school in which ELT staff and regular teaching
staff worked so closely together that the principal no longer referred to ELT as “after-school
programming.” In this school, where nearly all of the 6th- and 7th-grade students stay after the traditional
school day to participate in coding, dance, and STEM classes, the after-school program is designated as the
8th and 9th periods, indicating that it is incorporated into the regular school schedule. In this way, there
exists a seamless integration of all student learning opportunities.
Source: Learning Policy Institute51
In addition to after-school learning, student participation in acceleration academies has resulted in math
and reading improvements.52 Acceleration academies are “intensive, targeted instructional programs taught
over vacation breaks by a carefully selected set of teachers.”53 In a study of Lawrence Public Schools (MA)’s
use of Acceleration Academies, principals selected students based on low Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment System (MCAS) test scores, their perceived willingness to attend the academies, and their likely
classroom behavior. 54 The results were significant improvements in math achievement and more modest
improvements in reading achievement.55 Figure 2.3 details the design of the acceleration academies.
“A School Year Like No Other Demands a New Learning Day: A Blueprint for How Afterschool Programs & Community Partners Can
Help.” Afterschool Alliance, 2020.
Darling-Hammond, Schachner, and Edgerton, Op. cit.
Figure contents quoted verbatim with modifications from: Ibid.
Schueler, B.E., J.S. Goodman, and D.J. Deming. “Can States Take Over and Turn Around School Districts? Evidence From Lawrence,
Massachusetts.” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 20:10, 2017. p. 1.
Ibid., p. 3.
Ibid., p. 7.
Ibid., p. 1.
©2020 Hanover Research 13
14. Figure 2.3: Acceleration Academy Design
Principals typically used homogenous ability groupings to create classes of 10 to 12 students, with
teachers assigned to a single group for the week. Teachers were given substantial flexibility to create their
own lesson plans. Academies held over the February vacation focused on ELA. The April Academies
focused primarily on math, but also included some classes dedicated to science. The district asked
Academy teachers to focus on frequently assessed MCAS standards and provided a list of these standards,
sample objectives, and interim assessment data for all of the students in the teacher’s class to identify the
standards their students had and had not yet mastered. The daily schedule varied by school, but
administrators were told to aim for a total of 25 hours of instruction over the week. Instruction in the core
subject was broken up by two “specials” per day, which included theater, visual art, music, sports,
technology, and cooking. Students received incentives for perfect attendance, such as $40 gift cards. LPS
estimates that this program costs approximately $800 per student per week.
Source: Schueler, et. al.56
A study of this model found that “district students exposed to the first 2 years of the state’s takeover score
about 0.3 standard deviations higher on math exams and about 0.1 standard deviations higher on ELA exams.”
However, given the program’s cost and small groupings based on students’ specific academic level, districts
should only use acceleration academies for struggling students needing intensive learning interventions.
Districts must plan summer learning programs to last several years. According to the Learning Policy
Institute, “well-designed summer programs are most effective when students experience them for multiple
summers.” 57 Further, summer learning programs need to provide engaging and enriching learning
experiences for students. Modern iterations of summer school offer programming for students with “wide-
ranging interests and needs,” which the Wallace Foundation describes as “summer learning programs.” 58
Summer learning programs improve academic outcomes ranging from reading proficiency to GPA.59 Effective
summer learning programs may include educational programming, youth development, and career
development.60 Figure 2.4 describes the contrast between traditional summer school and enriching summer
learning programming.
Figure 2.4: Summer School Vs. Summer Learning
▪ Engage students in recreational and enrichment
▪ Solely include academic instruction
▪ Focused on remediation and review
▪ Build positive relationships with peers and adults
▪ Attended by low-performing students
▪ Attended by students of varied skill levels
▪ Frequently mandatory
▪ Voluntary
▪ Half-day
▪ Full-day
Source: The Wallace Foundation61
Figure contents quoted verbatim from: Ibid., p. 7, 21.
Darling-Hammond, Schachner, and Edgerton, Op. cit., p. 74.
Terzian, M., K. Anderson Moore, and K. Hamilton. “Effective and Promising Summer Learning Programs and Approaches for
Economically Disadvantaged Children and Youth.” The Wallace Foundation, July 2009.
Darling-Hammond, Schachner, and Edgerton, Op. cit.
Terzian, Anderson Moore, and Hamilton, Op. cit., p. 11.
Figure contents taken verbatim from Ibid., p. 11.
©2020 Hanover Research 14
15. Effective summer learning programs provide structured learning opportunities linked to standards. The
district may use district curriculum standards and self-developed standards where appropriate. The National
Summer Learning Association (NSLA) describes how organizers of summer programming should establish
program standards that “[provide] structure and clear expectations” for program staff and participants. 62
Further, the NSLA states that effective programs outline clear behavioral expectations for program
participants and measuring learning outcomes following the program's conclusion.63
The Wallace Foundation adds districts should consider integrating curriculum standards into summer
programming, particularly programs that teach academic content. Effective summer learning programs
engage students in active learning, provide opportunities for out-of-classroom learning, and offer hands-on
activities (see Figure 2.5).
Figure 2.5: Features of Effective Summer Learning Activities
Successful summer learning programs supplement academic instruction with
enrichment activities that are relevant and engaging to children and youth. Some
examples include a debate on current events, use of technology, field trips, hip-hop
MAKE LEARNING FUN dance, rap and spoken word, improvisational comedy, art, drama, and storytelling.
They also include time for sports and recreational activities to offer students a
chance to participate in the physical activities they enjoy.
Consistent with an accelerated learning approach, academic concepts are best
GROUND LEARNING IN A learned when applying them in a real-world context, for example, by teaching
REAL-WORLD CONTEXT students about the difference between deciduous and coniferous trees by taking
them on a hike through the forest.
Didactic lectures may increase knowledge but are not very effective at changing
INTEGRATE HANDS-ON behavior. Interactive forms of instruction such as immersion and experiential
learning help to keep students engaged in the material. Engaging children in games,
ACTIVITIES group projects, field trips to historic sites, nature expeditions, and science
experiments are all ways in which to make learning more interesting and applied.
CONTENT SHOULD Successful educational programs integrate learning activities that complement
what children are learning during the school year. Therefore, academic content is
COMPLEMENT CURRICULAR aligned with statewide, grade-level curricular standards for English Language Arts
STANDARDS and Mathematics.
Source: The Wallace Foundation64
Summer learning program length will depend on factors including the length of the spring term, fall term
preparations, and facility availability. While opinions on the length of effective summer learning programs
differ, a 2018 RAND Corporation report recommends a minimum of five weeks. The report also recommends
programs provide students with three to four hours of academics daily, including 90 minutes of mathematics
and 120 minutes of English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. 65
Planning for a summer learning program must start early. The RAND Corporation, which has published
several reviews of summer learning programs, recommends districts decide to hold a summer program in the
fall and begin planning summer learning programs by January at the latest. RAND researchers recommend
district leaders involve school site leaders in the planning process but centralize decision-making.66 Figure 2.6
presents the RAND Corporation’s recommendations for planning a summer learning program.
“Best Practices in Summer Learning Programs for Middle and High School Youth.” The National Summer Learning Association. p. 12.
Ibid., pp. 12–17.
Figure contents quoted verbatim from: Terzian, Anderson Moore, and Hamilton, Op. cit., p. 17.
Schwartz, H.L. et al. “Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for Success, 2nd Ed.” RAND Corporation, 2018.
p. 30.
Ibid, p. 10.
©2020 Hanover Research 15
16. Figure 2.6: Planning a Summer Learning Program
▪ Commit in the fall to having a
summer program.
▪ Dedicate a director to manage
summer program planning who has
influence, authority, and
committed time. Plan to administer pre- and
▪ Determine which students to post-tests, observe
target and plan accordingly. instructors, collect staff views
▪ Consider a cross-departmental about the summer program,
Enrichment and district partners should
planning team. and share evaluation data
jointly plan staff hiring, training, and
▪ Create a calendar that stipulates after the summer ends to
curriculum and behavior policies. During
task deadlines. improve the program over
the planning phase, establish which
▪ Use meeting time wisely. time and to reinforce
organization has ultimate responsibility
▪ Engage both community-level and community stakeholders’
for overseeing the quality of instruction
site-level staff in the planning commitment to retaining the
and managing the instructors.
process. Planning worked best summer program.
when a summer program director
in the district central office ran the
planning and involved site-level
leads in some of the decision-
making, such as creating site-
specific master schedules or
conducting site-specific
professional development.
Source: RAND Corporation67
Through partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs), districts can provide students with
unique out-of-school learning opportunities and potentially secure external funding for the summer
program. Indeed, a 2011 RAND Corporation’s review of summer learning programs found that CBO
partnerships contribute to program sustainability:68
[The review] found benefits from partnerships between school districts and CBOs that included a
wider variety of programming options, and more varied funding sources. However, a number of other
partnerships may be beneficial, as several types of organizations have an interest in promoting summer
learning experiences for youth—districts, CBOs, private summer learning providers, cities, and local
funders. Each of these organizations has a set of resources and skills that can help build sustainable
summer learning programs. [The RAND Corporation] encourage leaders to consider all local resources
and build appropriate partnerships when developing these programs.
Reports on summer learning community partnerships often highlight specific examples of districts’
community partnerships for summer learning. For instance, a few years ago, the Ogden School District (UT)
partnered with local community organizations to address student learning loss (see Figure 2.7).
Figure contents taken verbatim from: Ibid., p. ix.
McCombs, J.S. et al. “Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning.” RAND Corporation, 2011. p.
©2020 Hanover Research 16
17. Figure 2.7: Ogden School District (UT)
In Ogden, Utah, parents and community organizations are central to Ogden United’s mission of creating
additional summer learning opportunities. The community school’s initiative is led by a cross-boundary
leadership team that includes the mayor, superintendent, school district Full-Service Community Schools
leadership team, college and university presidents, the United Way, and prominent parent and community
groups. The leadership team reached out to local youth-serving organizations (e.g., the YMCA, United Way
of Northern Utah, Boys and Girls Club) to discuss effective summer programs for addressing summer
learning loss in the city. Parents also participated in the decision-making process through focus groups and
surveys. While the resulting programs have been run by community schools’ staff and partners, parents
and community volunteers remain engaged by helping to organize, market, and teach at summer camps.
Although the individual programs may have discrete themes and areas of emphasis, each program’s
morning schedule typically centers on individualized learning and academic enrichment opportunities for
Source: Institute for Educational Leadership69
Districts can think creatively to identify funding for summer learning programs. The NSLA’s pre-COVID
Funding Resource Guide encourages districts to consider how they can use federal and state funding, grant
awards, and community sponsors to fund their summer program. The guide lists dozens of potential funding
sources available to districts to use for summer learning programs, including federal, state, local, and private
funding. 70 The RAND Corporation outlines additional recommendations for districts as they develop the
budget for their summer learning program:71
Design the summer program with costs in mind.
o To control fixed costs, avoid assigning small numbers of students to many sites.
o Use enrichment providers to help leverage additional funds and provide a full-day program.
o Hire staff to achieve desired student-to-adult ratios based on projected daily attendance, not the
initial number of enrollees.
Put resources into tracking and boosting attendance.
Use effective cost-accounting practices.
o To understand costs per student served, express costs on not just a per-enrollee basis, but also
on a per-attendee, per-hour basis.
o Set up data procedures to enable cost tracking on a per-attendee, per-hour basis.
Effective summer learning programs hire well-trained staff.72 Districts need to develop intensive selection
processes and criteria for summer learning teachers and, when possible, including prioritizing teachers’
existing relationships with students (see Figure 2.8). Additionally, several studies show that low-student-
Figure contents quoted verbatim from: Jacobson, R. and M.J. Blank. “A Framework for More and Better Learning Through
Community School Partnerships.” Institute for Educational Leadership, September 2015. p. 26.
“2016 Funding Resource Guide.” National Summer Learning Association, 2016. p. 3.
Figure contents quoted verbatim from: Augustine, C. et al. “Getting to Work on Summer Learning: Recommended Practices for
Success.” RAND Corporation, 2013. p. xv.
Darling-Hammond, Schachner, and Edgerton, Op. cit., p. 74.
©2020 Hanover Research 17
18. teacher ratios and class sizes of 20 or fewer students lead to the most significant improvements in student
academic achievement in summer programs.73
Figure 2.8: Staffing Summer Learning Programs
Recruit and Hire the District’s Most Highly Effective Teachers
•Advertise attractive program features and encourage promising teachers to apply.
•Hire teachers with relevant content knowledge and grade-level experience.
•If possible, hire based on staff motivation and performance rather than seniority.
•Hire experts to support to students with special needs.
Provide Teachers with Sufficient Professional Development Prior to the
•Familiarize teachers with the summer curriculum and how to teach it.
•Train teachers to avoid common culprits for classroom instruction time loss
•Emphasize that engaging academic work is a part of summer fun
•Train teachers to effectively check for student understanding.
•Engage all instructional support staff in academic training sessions
Source: RAND Corporation74
Experience from prior school closures suggest districts need to develop a long-term strategy to address
lost learning beyond the current school year. A 2019 study of the 2009 Australian bushfire found that a
disaster may erode learning across multiple academic years. The study analyzed students’ test scores from
Grade 1 (the year of the bushfire), Grade 3, and Grade 5. When comparing Grades 3 and 5 results, the authors
determined that students attending the most affected schools recorded significantly less reading and math
improvement. 75 Similarly, research on learning loss after Hurricane Katrina found it took two years for
students to recover academic achievement.76 This research indicates districts will need long-term strategies
beyond the 2020-2021 academic year in order to help students recover from learning lost during COVID-19
school closures.
Some districts have already developed long-term learning recovery plans. In May, the Superintendent of
Chesterfield County Public Schools (VA) presented a two-year Recovery of Learning Plan through the end of
the 2021-2022 academic year to the school board. The plan includes multiple phases and timelines, beginning
with summer 2020. Figure 2.9 details the current and upcoming phases of the district’s learning recovery plan
and steps to prepare for a future disruptor event.
McEachin, A., C.H. Augustine, and J. McCombs. “Effective Summer Programming: What Educators and Policymakers Should Know.”
American Federation of Teachers, Spring 2018.
Schwartz et al., Op. cit.
[1] Gibbs, L. et al. “Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children.” Child Development, 90:4,
July/August 2019. [2] Becker, R. “Wildfires Take a Toll on Students’
Test Scores Years after the Smoke Clears.” The Verge, January 2019.
Harris, D.N. and M.F. Larsen. “The Effects of the New Orleans Post-Katrina Market-Based School Reports on Medium-Term Student
Outcomes.” Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, 2019.
©2020 Hanover Research 18
19. Figure 2.9: Chesterfield County Public Schools (VA) Recovery of Learning Plan, Fall 2020-Spring 2022 and
Future Preparations
Use multiple diagnostics to assess each student’s learning gaps:
▪ Diagnostic, formative assessments, student work, conferences, parent feedback, etc.
SCHOOL YEAR 2020- ▪ Utilize intentional instructional planning by teachers to create individualized learning plans
2021 as needed that maximize our district interventions and services available.
▪ Provide multiple opportunities for learning support without adding stress or pressure
(before / after school for example).
Option A: Option B:
Option C:
▪ Implement our traditional ▪ Use CCPSOnline for
acceleration and
▪ Based on student /
CCPS summer school plan on parent demand, offer
select school sites remediation course
a newly-designed
▪ Average enrollment capacity - combination of
SUMMER 2021 ▪ Continue student onsite and online
8,000 - 10,000
access to learning for learning
▪ Increase enrollment capacity by Chromebooks and
adding school sites as learners recovery,
online backpack to acceleration, or
have needs and interest in continue self-paced
participating remediation
Continuing the CCPS 2020-21 Recovery of Learning Instructional Plan components:
▪ Teachers will be able to access multiple years of previous content via Canvas to review
SCHOOL YEAR 2021- essential knowledge and skills still needed by individual students.
2022 ▪ District interventions and services will continue to be adjusted or increased to meet
continued surfacing needs.
▪ Before / After-School-Optional recovery learning opportunities will continue.
▪ Assure all groups, and especially our most vulnerable groups, have basic needs met.
PIVOT FACTORS TO ▪ Plan for 100% Technology Access that supports distance learning.
FURTHER FUTURE- ▪ Prepare teachers to navigate confidently from face-to-face instruction to distance learning
instruction -- ensuring engagement, progression through a high-quality curriculum, and
progress monitoring.
Source: Chesterfield County Public Schools77
77 Figure contents taken verbatim from: Daugherty, M. “2020-2022 CCPS Recovery of Learning Plan.” Chesterfield County Public
Schools, May 12, 2020. pp. 18-24.$file/PRESENTATION%20-%202020-
©2020 Hanover Research 19
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