School is out for the summer. That’s good news for students but bad news for their ability to retain the knowledge and skills learned throughout the school year. What results is known as “summer slide”. Summer slide occurs when students leave school for summer break and gradually forget what was taught during the school year. In the midst of all the fun activities that summer has to offer, many students also put their studies on hold. This temporary gap in learning is the number one reason for the slow academic start at the beginning of each school year.

A survey conducted by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) reveals that, on average, teachers spend four to six weeks re-teaching information learned during the prior academic year. Experts believe most students lose more than two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Further research shows that because many low-income students lack access to summer learning opportunities, summer slide has a greater negative impact on these students. Low – income students are seen to lose two months of reading skills, while peers from higher socio-economic backgrounds with greater access to summer learning opportunities, may actually make slight gains in reading achievement. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University shows that these effects can be cumulative and long lasting. Researchers found that two-thirds of the achievement gap between low- and high-income ninth graders could be explained by summer slide experienced during elementary school.

On Monday, June 20, students from the Montgomery County Public School system ended their school year. In light of the research, the summer could be a challenging period for student’s knowledge retention. However, Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) is combating summer slide through HOC Academy’s summer programming. HOC Academy stimulates and engages students academically through it Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) programming, Girls Got IT! and chess camps. HOC is equipped with a diverse arsenal to keep students intellectually active and send them back to school well prepared.

Last summer, HOC launched a number of summer youth programs each focused on different aspects of learning. The robotics program provided 80 students with enrichment programming in the areas of math, technology and innovation. Through grant funding provided by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, HOC Academy introduced girls to programming and Information Technology. These programs for HOC youth go beyond combating summer slide. HOC programs bring the community together and embody the spirit of achievement and advancement intrinsic to HOC and critical to student success.