Common Knowledge / Collective Action

The Boston Summer Learning Community is a rich citywide network of summer learning programs that are unified in their commitment to closing the opportunity gap, implementing the same measurement tools, and working together towards continuous improvement. In 2015, the Boston Summer Learning Community featured 45 organizations operating 79 summer learning sites to serve over 5,600 Boston students in diverse, non-traditional settings around the city. Boston After School & Beyond convenes this unified network of summer sites regularly thoughout the year to conduct trainings on student skill development, to brainstorm strategies for addressing persistent problems, and to share best practices from the field. This partnerships-driven approach is at the forefront of innovation in youth development and summer learning nationally.

Research drives our knowledge base and informs our approach towards continuous improvement. Common measurement is the Boston Summer Learning Community’s foundation and program providers commit to defining, implementing, measuring, and improving program quality together. All of these sites implement the same suite of measurement tools to set the stage for a year-round forum to discuss best practices for improving students’ social-emotional skills and strengthening program quality.

Common program quality metrics unite a diverse array of program providers, setting the stage for collaboration. Each site receives a Program Report for Improvement and System Measurement (PRISM), which benchmarks their site’s summer performance against the other 78 sites. With their PRISM firmly in hand, program leaders identify strengths, target areas for improvement, and commit to shared dialogue with their peers.

Of course, programs that exhibit high quality are ready to prepare their students to be successful, confident, and well-rounded. To this end, the Community also jointly focuses on a set of four student social-emotional skill outcomes that research supports are important for post-secondary success.

These social-emotional skills – critical thinking, relationships, perseverance, and self-regulation – are tangible outcomes any program, in any setting, and in any duration can pursue. The four social-emotional skills are identifiable and measurable, span multiple grade levels, and have a meaningful correlation with student success in school, work, and life. The Community’s common program quality metrics measure the conditions that enable this development to occur in summer programs.

When we started, our goal was to help as many kids as possible.

In our first year
we served



In 2015
we served



By 2017 we
hope to serve over