Family YMCA of Black Hawk County

YMCA Launches First Summer Learning Academy in the Cedar Valley

On Monday, June 19, the Black Hawk County YMCA launched the first ever Y Believe Summer Learning Academy in the Cedar Valley for youth in the surrounding area. In this first year, 200 students are participating in the program at Irving and Becker Elementary to help combat summer learning loss.

Gina Weekley, Black Hawk County YMCA Youth Development Director, along with a collaborative team from Waterloo Schools and Cedar Valley Readers, has spent months preparing this program for launch in Summer 2017. “Academy students were selected out of Waterloo Elementary Schools to engage in this program, which combines the learning of an academic environment with the fun of a summer camp,” said Weekley.

According to the Irving Elementary Annual Report, students experience consistent summer learning loss from year to year. For each grade level, a drop in reading proficiency can be seen from Spring 2016 to Fall 2017.  In some cases students are losing nearly 18 points and are unable to reach the level they were at the year prior. As a result, a child who experiences summer learning loss over the years is on average 2-3 years behind their peers who have not experienced summer learning loss.

The Black Hawk Y is proud of the results they’ve seen from Summer Camp participants. Since 2013, more than 400 children have had a YMCA summer reading experience through the Day Camp. In the past year, 167 children participated in the program. Of those children, we received data from Success Link for the students we serve from the Waterloo Community School District that proves the success of our program.

2015-2016 School Year Statistics:

  • 90% of YMCA Summer Camp participants prove to be proficient in Reading, scoring 28% higher than the district average of 62%
  • 87% of the YMCA Summer Camp participants prove to be proficient in math, scoring 24% higher than the district average of 63%
  • The average GPA for YMCA Summer Camp participants was 2.80. This is 0.16 higher than the district average of 2.64.

The Black Hawk County YMCA is hoping the Y Believe Summer Learning Academy becomes an annual collaborative effort to help prevent the summer slide among youth in the Cedar Valley.


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