In Macomb, summertime is all about learning. From NASA to Native American culture, students are exploring a wide array of topics through a summer learning program offered in their district.

“We have an extremely aggressive summer program,” said Shannon Browning, Macomb teacher and director of the district’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program. “Most summer programs are about four weeks; we are usually nine weeks.”

July 12 is National Summer Learning Day, designed to elevate the importance of year-round learning to ensure students return to school in the fall ready to succeed.

Macomb’s summer program is open to any student, Pre-K through eighth grade, who lives in the Macomb school district. This summer, 69 students are enrolled.

“We were having an issue with our kids being able to retain what we were doing,” said Matt Riggs, Macomb’s superintendent. “We were looking at different initiatives, and the 21st Century grant felt like a good fit.”

In 2016, the district received the five-year grant. Now in its second summer program, Macomb is seeing huge gains not only with students but staff as well.

“I have teachers calling me up every day asking if I need more teachers. They love it. They love what is happening in the classrooms,” said Browning. 

One reason the Macomb summer learning program is a success program is a success is because teachers, administrators and community partners have wholeheartedly bought into the program. 

“Our culture is completely different than it was four or five years ago — not because of anything I'm doing but because our staff decided to embrace what we're doing and utilize it," said Riggs. 

Studies show the average student loses at least one month of math skills during the summer. For low income children, that doubles to two months. In addition, low income children typically lose another two to three months of reading skills. 

Part of the State Department of Education’s 8-year-plan is a strong focus on leveraging out of school time to better address student needs. Continuous learning through the summer is one way to emphasize learning for the long run. 

From: Oklahoma State Department of Education.