Local Students Improve Academics Through YMCA Summer Program

The YMCA of Central Kentucky has announced that local primary school students enrolled in a academic program this summer showed significant improvement, gaining three months in both math and literacy skills.

Students in grades K-4 participated in the Power Scholars Academy, which was launched in 2013 by the YMCA of the USA and Building Educated Leaders for Life to prevent the summer learning slide.

The Power Scholars Academy at the YMCA of Central Kentucky and Booker T. Washington Elementary blended rigorous literacy and math instruction with hands-on enrichment, social-emotional development and community engagement.

“Booker T. Washington staff and the YMCA of Central Kentucky are excited at the announcement that our kids have shown what we already know – they can achieve at high levels,” said Jessica Berry, Vice President of Youth Development at the Y. “When provided the opportunity to blend academics with engaging enrichment opportunities, students perform.”

On average, students not only avoided a potential two-month summer learning loss but gained three months in both reading and mathematics instead.

According to evaluation surveys, 91% of teachers reported an increase in the self-confidence of enrolled students, known as scholars, and 97% of parents reported their children having a better ability to overcome challenges.

Surveys showed that 97% of parents said they are more involved in their child’s education, and 100% of educators said the program helped them improve their professional skills.

An estimated 7.5 million K-8 students from underserved communities are performing significantly below grade level, and up to two-thirds of the academic achievement gap is due to lack of access to summer learning programs.

To address this challenge, BELL partners with local organizations like the Y to design and deploy holistic, scalable summer and afterschool learning experiences utilizing BELL’s comprehensive, evidence-based, out-of-school-time education solution.

“These academic outcomes and survey results confirmed once again that increasing access to high-quality learning experiences beyond the school year helps students get ahead when they return to school in the fall,” says BELL CEO Dr. Lauren Sanchez Gilbert.

This summer, nearly 7,500 scholars participated in Power Scholars Academy programs at 91 sites in 28 states and the District of Columbia.