Programs help local kids evade 'brain drain' during summer vacat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Programs help local kids evade 'brain drain' during summer vacation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Summer vacation for kids means saying goodbye to school books and bells, but studies show that "brain drain" leaves many local kids falling behind, and eventually dropping out.

So today, teachers hit the books for a lesson in helping turn that around. 

"We know the average student loses two months' worth of learning over summer, and from kids who come from low income, or are exposed to other high risk factors, that drain is even greater," said Angie Ditsler, director of high school graduation initiatives for Metro United Way.

That summer "brain drain" really takes a toll. Studies show this year, 1,200 students in Louisville are predicted to become dropouts -- and by the end of 5th grade, disadvantaged students are nearly three grades behind more affluent peers in reading.

"It's really important to use those nine weeks over the summer to make sure programs and camps are involved in providing opportunities for enrichment and learning so when they start school in the fall, they're ready to start learning," Ditsler said.

That's where BLOCS comes in: Building A Better Life for Young People Block by Block. The partnership between Metro Louisville, JCPS and local organizations gives teachers and community leaders the tools they need to keep kids learning "after" school. 

"Lots of times organizations don't know about materials or different organizations that have materials that they can use to help them help the youth, so this is great," said Melissa Conn of Boys and Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana.

Today's lesson zeroes in on summer learning. 

"One of the issues is reading," Conn said. "Lots of times they lack reading because they don't want to read, material is not on their level, some of activities are not engaging."

That's changing today with a toolbox full of new material and tips, with one key thing factoring in to the equation.

"It has to be fun," Conn said. "For summer, it needs to come across as fun learning, not, 'sit down, sit up straight, you've got to do these things.'"

For information on summer camps and programs to keep kids learning, CLICK HERE.

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