U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

  • Agency:
    U.S. Department of Education
  • Office:
    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE)
  • Solution:
    Synergy reviewed recent research on summer learning loss to develop comprehensive professional learning and coaching activities that can support design and delivery of successful summer learning programs.

Synergy's Approach

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) Program unveiled an opportunity for several states to participate in a new professional learning and coaching initiative to build capacity around summer learning programs and curbing summer learning loss. Synergy’s team applied research-based knowledge to design a professional learning and coaching approach for an initial cohort that includes the 21st CCLC leaders of 6 states and 18 out-of-school time program sites. Data from this work will inform design of an approach the Department can use to help other grantees design and deliver high-quality summer learning programs. Practical tools and learning materials for implementing the approach will be shared with program leaders through the Department’s free professional learning portal, You for Youth. Y4Y, also a Synergy project, can be found at y4y.ed.gov.

Synergy’s approach provides an individualized, collaborative and ongoing partnership with state and site leaders. The professional learning and coaching activities take place during an academic year to help sites design and implement successful summer learning programs in the following summer. Cohort members learn practices that can be transferred to support development of high-quality programs at any time of year. Professional learning and coaching activities include:

  • Virtual learning series: Each state cohort will have tailored events on planning, designing, assessing and improving a summer learning program. Cohorts from all states will join sessions on topics such as literacy, STEM, partnerships, or health and nutrition.
  •  Tailored on-site trainings: State cohort members will gather at one location with their coach to explore topics in greater depth and to plan for the coming summer program.
  •  Ongoing coaching and support: Synergy coaches will be available to cohort members by phone and email throughout the year.
  •   Implementation assessment activities: Data will be collected for a subject matter expert to analyze and report on project activities at the end of the second year.
  • Second-year activities: New members will join the initiative, and the first-year cohort will assist with coaching and mentoring.