Class dismissed is when work ramps up for ‘Cat’ Lindroth

The end of the school year marks “go” time for Catherine Lindroth and her team. After preparing all school year, the founder of the nonprofit Summer Learning Collaboration will send 60 teachers and 30 college and high-school students to community-based organizations across Delaware, where they’ll optimize the impact of summer learning programs.

The idea for the program came when Lindroth, then working for Teach for America Delaware, saw that community centers lacked the resources to support critical learning initiatives.

Studies show that low-income children lose up to three months of learning during the summer, while high-income counterparts gain up to two.

Lindroth thought that teachers on break for summer could help fill that gap.

“Frankly, this is close to home for them,” said Lindroth, of bringing teachers on board. “We saw the impact of a decline in funding for community-based organizations over the last two decades and what that’s meant for kids.”

With agencies and community organizations already struggling to attract high-quality talent, Summer Collab makes the connection for them.

Under the program, school teachers are hired to work as instructional coaches. Summer Collab trains them in the winter and spring on a variety of curriculum and resources. Then, they’re matched with summer counselors – typically high school and college students – who work to administer the lessons and track success through analytics.

While the goal is to reverse summer learning loss among the kids, both teachers and college students stretch their skill sets.

Largely based in New Castle County, where it partners with community organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and Urban Promise, Summer Collab will soon work with organizations in Sussex County as well.

“Yes, we’re reversing summer learning loss but it’s more than that,” said Lindroth. “Community-based agencies can be institutions that meet the precise needs of our lowest income children and when they do, our schools will see the difference.”

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