Creating meaningful and productive summer months for youth does not automatically equate to the traditional summer school model with kids confined to classrooms. This episode’s discussion with Rachel Gwaltney, director of policy and partnerships for the National Summer Learning Association highlights how schools can plan for flexible and engaging summer learning options that can not only help lessen achievement gap issues, but also reduce the stigma affiliated with summer school.
Summer learning loss is what happens to all children who don’t have access to stimulating and enriching activities during the summer months.
Summer offers an opportunity to learn in ways that you just cannot do during the school year or in a school-based environment.
Planning for the next summer starts immediately when the summer ends.
Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy & Partnerships at NSLA
As Director of Policy & Partnerships at NSLA, Rachel Gwaltney leads the research, development, and implementation of services, resources, and partnerships that improve and sustain policy conditions for summer learning. This includes educating and mobilizing the national network of summer learning advocates to make the case for summer to policymakers. Rachel also oversees NSLA’s efforts to grow and promote the research on summer gaps, opportunities, and best practices.
Prior to joining NSLA in 2015, Rachel held roles at District of Columbia Public Schools, Data Quality Campaign, and Horizons National. She previously served as Chief of Programs for Higher Achievement, leading expansion, program quality, evaluation, advocacy, curriculum, and training efforts.
Rachel holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree from Northwestern University. She completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) at IEL in 2012.