Summer Starts

A Parent's Guide to Student Learning During the Summer

After your middle/high school student has spent most of the year cooped up in classrooms and studying for tests, when summer rolls around, most of them are ready to drop the books and take a break. But, did you known that this break from learning can result in what’s known as summer learning loss?

Summer Learning Loss is a loss in academic skills and knowledge during the summer months. Students face summer learning loss if they are not engaged in meaningful summer learning and enrichment activities. Over 100 years of research tells us that a summer without learning can cause children at every grade level to fall two to three months behind in their academic skills.

So what’s a parent to do? Summer is a great break from school, but it doesn’t have to be a break from learning!

What You'll Find

Welcome to the Summer Starts guide! In this flyer you'll see many ways to keep your student learning for the whole summer. The ideas below come from organizations all over the city. Find a few that you and your student like, and check them out!

If you have any questions, please contact Aaron Litz at 240.715.5913 or Karen Parker Thompson, The FERP Project at

Thanks to Our Summer Starts Guide Partners

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Activities Schedule


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LAYC's Bicycle Adventure Camp

Monday, June 29th, 8am to Friday, July 31st, 4pm

1200 Clifton St NW

Washington, DC

Bike Adventure Camp (BAC) is a bilingual camp for youth ages 11-13. Participants will have the opportunity to re-build a bike, learn safe-riding skills and mechanical knowledge, as well as material responsibility, independence, confidence and street education. We will visit gardens, community centers, libraries, surprise locations while documenting each place on their on-going map of the summer! When each youth finish the program, they will leave with summer memories and their very own bike!

For more information:

-Victor Budasoff (202) 658-9481 or

-Landis Pulido (626) 374-0194 or
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Kid Power Inc. Summer Leadership Academy

Monday, June 29th, 9am to Friday, July 31st, 4pm

801 7th St SW

Washington, DC

Free to DC youth - Kid Power's Summer Leadership Academy offers academic courses designed to prevent summer learning loss. Additionally, youth complete a variety of innovative and exploratory enrichment, service, recreational activities, and field trips.

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National Youth Leadership Forum: Law & CSI

Monday, July 6th, 8am to Saturday, July 25th, 4pm

14750 Conference Center Drive

Chantilly, VA

At the National Youth Leadership Forum: Law & CSI, you will experience the full range of professions that exist in legal and forensic science fields and explore your opportunities for the future. This six-day summer program is held in Washington, DC.

There are multiple programs start dates. Scholarships are available.

See more at:

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UMD's Young Scholars Discovery

Sunday, July 19th, 8am to Friday, July 31st, 4pm

University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States

College Park, MD

Discovery is open to:

  • Current seventh and eighth grade middle school students.

Discovery highlights:

  • Intensive learning through high standards and expectations
  • Engaging courses and innovative instructors encourage creative problem solving
  • Field trip to Washington D.C. to explore our Nation's Capital
  • Interactive seminars and collaboration with equally talented peers
  • Evening and weekend social activities for residential Discovery Scholars

Visit the website for more information and to apply.

Activities in Your Community

DC Parks & Recreation

Youth Camps:

Every year, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) offers a variety of exciting urban camping opportunities for youth ages 3 to 17. These opportunities include sports camps, aquatic camps, therapeutic camps, and other day camps. Additionally, DPR partners with the District Department of Employment Services to host a number of exciting teen career camps. For more information, visit the website below or contact the DPR Camp Office.

Teen Programs:

The Office of Teen Programs of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) offers a wide variety of programs specifically designed to keep teens actively engaged throughout the year and help youth build and develop positive relationships with one another through cultural and social enrichment activities. Teen programs include Teen Nights Outs, Supreme Teen Clubs, Youth Council, community service projects, sports, leadership development and other fun recreational events.

Smithsonian National Zoo Day Camps Grades K-7

Summer Safari campers will explore the lives, habitats, and conservation of animals around the world. Week-long sessions include exciting hands-on activities, lessons, craft projects, science experiments, and walks through the Zoo (but no direct contact with animals). Summer Safari Day Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association.

Visit the website below for more information and to register!

Web Resources for Online Learning

Reading is Fundamental (RIF)

RIF's Summertime Reading Adventures stresses the importance of reading during the summer months and helping students of all ages discover the joy of reading! They provide “Ten Weeks of Fun: RIF’s Summer Reading Calendar.” Follow the link to see their great ideas.

National Summer Learning Association

Tips on how to engage your children over the summer months are available in Spanish and English.




Explore rich online resources created by Smithsonian experts for learning more about OUR WORLD!

Are you a brainiac on the subject of the human brain? An authority on American authors? An ace on astronomy? A whiz on The Wizard of Oz? If not, don’t worry. The new game Digging for Answers tests your research skills as well as your expertise. With each question—on these and many other subjects—you have the choice of answering on your own or trying to beat the clock as you search for the answer on a Smithsonian website. So get started. Time is running out!

Have you ever found an unusual coin or stamp? Or looked for old treasures in your attic? Then you’ve come to the right place! Visit Kids Collecting and explore the riches of the Smithsonian’s collections, learn how to start your own collection, and see what kinds of things other kids collect.

Additional Online Sources


Through entrepreneurship-based, experiential learning, BUILD ignites the potential of youth in under-resourced communities and equips them for high school, college, and career success.