A Case Study Of A School-Based Expanded Learning Summer Program
For the Expanded Learning Summer Program (ELSP), at a midsized public school system in the Northeast, providing high quality programming that engages student interest and fosters active learning by all children was a top priority. This case study, undertaken during the summer of 2017, provided insight into how the ELSP aligned with the relevant literature on high quality programming for youth-focused summer learning programs and suggested improvements to improve quality. Using a case study research design, I sought to understand how the ELSP, funded through a federal 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, aligned with benchmarks of high quality short-term programming for afterschool and summer learning youth programs. This research utilized interviews, informal observations, ten formal observations, and analysis of program materials. I concluded that the ELSP was effectively administered, had adequate resources, and was held at facilities that created a safe and appropriate space for all short-term learning activities. For the most part, the administration employed strong adult activity leaders, and resulting activities aligned well to the foundational domains of the Durlak and Weissberg (2007) SAFE model for high quality youth programs. The ELSP filled a need in the community, and for the first time, the administration made efforts to provide full access for youth with disabilities. Several areas where improvement has the potential to strengthen the program overall are identified, thereby providing youth participants with a more successful experience.