letters | A longer school year?

Summer learning can be a life-changing experience

“Should the school year be longer?” (Ideas, June 2) focuses necessary attention on learning time, but fails to capture the true potential the summer months offer a school district.

Summer learning is not merely about adding days to the school calendar. It is about creating life-changing experiences that help students thrive. More learning time in the hands of great teachers, great nonprofits, and students themselves activates academic content, builds background knowledge, and develops the skills necessary for success in school, college, and careers.

From the Harbor Islands to college campuses to workplaces, nonprofits are coordinating with the Boston Public Schools, providing the people, places, and experiences that help students apply knowledge to real issues. All of this is happening at a time of scarce resources because policy makers understand that such investments can help prevent more costly interventions down the road.


These experiences, while beneficial to most students, are essential for some students, particularly those who have not succeeded in traditional school settings.

Let’s talk about more learning time, but let’s also explore how to use time for more active learning, more skills development, and more transformational learning experiences.

Chris Smith
Executive director
Boston After School and Beyond