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New White House, NYC DOE Initiatives Highlight Attention to Summer Learning & Career Readiness

Saskia Traill

Saskia Traill is Vice President of Policy & Research at ExpandED Schools. 

Students in our ExpandED Options initiative earn an academic credit for real-world, out-of-school learning. Following fall or spring apprenticeships, ExpandED Options participants get a foothold on careers by working as paid summer camp interns.

The weather is reminding all of us that summer is around the corner. Luckily, there are many who have started making summer plans long ago.

On February 25, the White House, in partnership with the tireless National Summer Learning Association, announced the Summer Opportunity Project, aimed at giving teens access to a first job. (In a recent LinkedIn post, the President revealed that his first job was at an ice cream shop in Hawai’i.)

Locally, the New York City Department of Education announced a revitalized summer curriculum that encourages “rigorous, hands-on learning and real-world connections that engage students,” a welcome change for young people, parents and teachers. The DOE also announced the expansion of Summer STEM programs and new courses for high school students in Renewal schools.

We are excited to be playing a role by organizing apprenticeships for teens through our ExpandED Options initiative. Following fall or spring apprenticeships with sports, cultural and science organizations, teens then work with young people in summer camps and after-school programs leading activities in those areas. This initiative is a win-win for everyone involved. Younger kids are exposed to mentors; community organizations get trained staff; and teens gain real-world skills and employment opportunities. Some of these talented young New Yorkers may even begin a journey to become teachers themselves, a welcome prospect for groups like NYC Men Teach and its collaborators working to build a more diverse teaching corps in NYC.

Summer provides more time for schools and a broad range of community partners to offer relevant real-world learning for students of all ages. Seizing this additional time prepares young people for the future—maybe even the Presidency.



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