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Summer Scholars is an innovative community based initiative to promote literacy and bring elementary students in Denver Public Schools up to grade level in reading. Our key strategies include intensive summer classes, recreation, family involvement, community partnerships, and creative school year programs.
Summer Scholars is a year-round community-based literacy program for elementary students (ages 4-12) in Northeast Denver who are below grade level in reading and at risk of school failure. Summer Scholars attacks poverty and crime by promoting literacy and academic achievements in a safe, stimulating environment. Summer Scholars was founded by Park Hill activists in response to the 1993 "Summer of Violence." In nine years, our program has grown from 20 students at one school to over 1250 students at 20 schools. Summer Scholars is a collaborative organization with partnerships with Denver Public Schools, Denver Parks and Recreation, the Scientific Cultural and Facilities District, Corporation for National Service (AmeriCorps *VISTA), and other organizations. Summer Scholars' programs are professionally evaluated and outcomes are measured. Last year, 86% of the students in the summer program made significant gains in their reading skills. Summer Scholars operates summer and school year programs designed to enhance the reading skills of students. Specifically, Summer Scholars programs include: six and four week summer literacy and recreation programs at 20 schools, family literacy pilot project at three sites, and school year literacy enrichment program at 9 schools. All Summer Scholars programs feature several key components: additional time for instruction, low student to teacher ratio, professional development for teachers, and family involvement through home visits and literacy events.