Avoiding the Summer Slide: Keeping Your Child Engaged and Learning

Every summer, parents face a common challenge: the “summer slide,” a phenomenon where students lose some of the academic gains they made during the previous school year. However, with strategic planning and engaging activities, parents can help their children continue to learn and even thrive during the summer break.

Understanding the Summer Slide

The summer slide typically affects skills in reading and math, where the lack of practice makes previously learned material harder to recall. Studies show that a student can lose up to two months of reading and mathematical computational skills over the summer. This setback can create a cumulative effect year over year, impacting long-term academic performance.

Strategies to Prevent the Summer Slide

1. Set a Routine: Maintaining a consistent daily schedule that includes time for learning can help children stay on track. This doesn’t need to be rigorous but should balance educational activities with plenty of time for play and relaxation.

2. Encourage Reading: Reading is one of the most effective ways to prevent the summer slide. Enroll children in the Cleveland Public Library or Cuyahoga County Public Library Summer Reading Program, or set a family reading time. Let your child choose books that interest them to foster a love of reading.

3. Utilize Educational Technology: Numerous educational apps and websites can make learning fun and interactive. These tools often include subjects like math, science, and language arts and are designed to engage children through games and challenges.

4. Engage in Real-World Learning: Summer is the perfect time for experiential learning. Trips to museums, parks, and historical sites offer opportunities to explore new ideas and information in a real-world setting. Even cooking or shopping can be turned into practical math lessons.

5. Write and Create: Encourage your child to keep a summer journal, write letters to family members, or create stories. Writing improves literacy skills and allows children to express their creativity.

6. Connect with Educational Programs: Consider registering for summer camps and classes that focus on everything from coding to art. These programs can provide structured learning opportunities and the chance to socialize with peers.

7. Review and Prepare: Spend some time reviewing material from the last school year and preparing for the upcoming one. This can include tutoring sessions or informal lessons at home.

By integrating learning activities into the relaxed summer months, parents can help their children avoid the summer slide and enter the new school year with confidence. Not only does this approach help maintain academic skills, but it also encourages a lifelong love of learning that goes beyond the classroom.

Spring Can Makes Us Think About Transitions…

Navigating school transitions, such as moving from elementary to middle school, middle to high school, or entering college, can be a significant and sometimes challenging experience for students. Here are some strategies to make these transitions smoother and more successful:

1. Visit the New School Beforehand

  • Take advantage of orientation days or arrange a visit to explore the new school. Familiarizing yourself with the layout, classrooms, and facilities can reduce anxiety and increase comfort on the first day.

2. Connect with Peers and Teachers

  • Try to meet classmates and teachers ahead of time, if possible. Engage in school-sponsored activities or social media groups to connect with future classmates.
  • Establishing a rapport with teachers early on can also provide a support system within the school.

3. Stay Organized

  • Transitioning often means handling a more challenging workload. Use planners, apps, or calendars to keep track of assignments, projects, and important dates.
  • Develop a daily routine with dedicated study time, extracurricular activities, and relaxation.

4. Engage in Extracurricular Activities

  • Participate in clubs, sports, or other activities that interest you. This is an excellent way to meet people with similar interests and can make the school environment feel more welcoming.

5. Seek Support When Needed

  • Don’t hesitate to use school resources like counseling services, academic advisors, or tutoring if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Open communication with parents, teachers, and friends about adjusting can provide additional support and advice.

6. Embrace New Challenges

  • Be open to new experiences and opportunities. School transitions can be a time for personal growth and development. Try new things, and don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone.

7. Focus on Time Management

  • Managing your time effectively becomes crucial with the increased workload and extracurricular opportunities. Prioritize tasks, avoid procrastination, and make time for breaks.

8. Maintain a Positive Attitude

  • A positive mindset can significantly impact your transition experience. Focus on the opportunities ahead rather than dwelling on fears or uncertainties.

9. Set Personal Goals

  • Setting academic and personal goals can provide direction and motivation. Reflect on what you want to achieve during this transition period and strategize how to accomplish these goals.

10. Practice Self-Care

  • Transitions can be stressful. Ensure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and finding time to relax and enjoy hobbies.

Remember, it’s normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed during school transitions. With time, patience, and the right strategies, you can navigate these changes successfully and find new opportunities for growth and learning.

Why Register for Kindergarten Now?

Kindergarten is a child’s first school experience. You want it to be pleasant – not last minute and chaotic. Your child needs to be comfortable with the school and the teacher. By registering your child for kindergarten now, you can be sure that:

  • All the necessary paperwork is in: You have time to secure needed records, so there is no rush or problem in getting the essential information.
  • The school is prepared: Schools plan in the Spring and need to know how many teachers to hire and how many supplies they will need.
  • You know about school policies, special programs, activities, and services, allowing you to be prepared and ask questions.
  • You can schedule a tour of the school you are interested in while the school is still in session.

If you need help considering the best options for your child, visit the Cleveland Transformation Alliance’s School Finder Tool to search by neighborhood, school focus, amenities, and special partnerships. Visit our friends at Starting-Point.org to download a complete toolkit for kindergarten registration.

Five Black Leaders in Education

There have been many influential black leaders in the field of education throughout history. Here are five notable figures:

  1. Booker T. Washington (1856–1915):
    Washington was a prominent African American educator, author, and advisor to presidents. He was the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a vocational and industrial training school for African Americans. Washington emphasized practical education and economic self-sufficiency for black individuals in the post-Civil War era.
  2. Mary McLeod Bethune (1875–1955):
    Bethune was an educator, political leader, and civil rights activist. She founded Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida, which began as a small boarding school for black girls. Bethune was also a key figure in promoting educational opportunities for black women and served as an advisor on minority affairs to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  3. W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963):
    Du Bois was a prominent African American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du Bois emphasized higher education and co-founded the Niagara Movement, which later contributed to the formation of the NAACP. He advocated for the “Talented Tenth” theory, promoting education for a select group of African Americans to become leaders and advocates for their communities.
  4. Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939):
    Edelman is an advocate for children’s rights and the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). While her work is not exclusively in education, she has been a strong voice for improving educational opportunities and advocating for policies that benefit disadvantaged children. Edelman has worked tirelessly to address issues such as poverty, inequality, and education reform.
  5. Johnnetta B. Cole (b. 1936):
    Cole is an anthropologist, educator, and the first African American female president of Spelman College, a historically black women’s liberal arts college. She has held various leadership roles in academia, including serving as the president of Bennett College. Cole has been a strong advocate for the importance of education, particularly in empowering African American women.

These leaders have made significant contributions to education and have played crucial roles in advancing opportunities for black individuals in the United States.

What did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Say About the Importance of Education?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized the crucial role of education in the pursuit of justice, equality, and social progress. He believed that education was a powerful tool for breaking down barriers and overcoming systemic injustice. One of his famous quotes related to education is:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

In this quote, Dr. King stresses the importance of not just acquiring knowledge but also developing critical thinking skills and cultivating strong moral character. He saw education as a means to empower individuals to challenge injustice and work towards creating a more just and equitable society. Dr. King believed that education played a central role in the fight against discrimination and inequality.

Dr. King was a strong advocate for public education. He believed in the power of education to bring about positive social change and to address issues of inequality and injustice. Dr. King saw education as a tool for empowerment, a means through which individuals could develop the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to society and work towards a more just and equal world.

Dr. King also recognized the importance of equal educational opportunities for all, regardless of race or socio-economic background. He was a vocal supporter of desegregating schools and ensuring that every child had access to a quality education. Dr. King’s advocacy for civil rights extended to the realm of education, and he fought against segregation and discrimination in schools as part of his broader struggle for racial equality and justice.

Let us all remember Dr. King’s focus on education as we celebrate him this week.

Self-Care is Childcare too

Taking care of yourself during the holidays is essential to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips for self-care during the holiday season:

Set Realistic Expectations:
Understand that perfection is not achievable. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others, and don’t put too much pressure on creating a flawless holiday experience.

Maintain Healthy Habits:
Stick to your sleep schedule, eat balanced meals, and exercise regularly. These habits can positively impact your mood and energy levels.

Prioritize and Plan:
Make a list of priorities and focus on the most important tasks. Plan your schedule, including time for self-care, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Delegate Tasks:
Don’t hesitate to delegate responsibilities. Share tasks with family members or friends to lighten your load and create a sense of shared responsibility.

Take Breaks:
Allow yourself breaks to recharge. Whether it’s a short walk, a few minutes of deep breathing, or a moment of mindfulness, taking breaks can help manage stress.

Limit Screen Time:
Reduce time spent on social media or watching screens. Excessive screen time can contribute to stress, and taking a break from technology can be refreshing.

Practice Mindfulness:
Engage in mindfulness activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. These practices can help you stay present and reduce stress.

Learn to Say No:
It’s okay to decline invitations or additional commitments if you feel overwhelmed. Prioritize your well-being and be selective about how you spend your time.

Create Boundaries:
Set clear boundaries with family and friends to ensure your needs are respected. Communicate your limits, and don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself.

Celebrate in Your Own Way:
Embrace traditions that bring you joy, and consider creating new ones that align with your values. Don’t feel obligated to conform to societal expectations if they don’t align with your preferences.

Connect with Loved Ones:
Spend quality time with loved ones. Share your feelings and experiences, and don’t hesitate to ask for support if needed. Connecting with others can provide emotional support.

Reflect and Express Gratitude:
Take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your life and express gratitude. This can help shift your focus from stressors to the things you appreciate.

Remember that self-care is a personal journey, and it’s important to prioritize activities that bring you comfort and joy. Listen to your needs and be kind to yourself during the holiday season.

Are there negative impacts on children who change schools during K-12 education?

Changing schools during K-12 education can have both positive and negative impacts on children, depending on the situation. It is essential to consider the reason for the change, the child’s adaptability, and the support provided by parents and educators.

The staff at the Cleveland Transformation Alliance is here to help support and guide parents/caregivers through this decision.

  1. Academic Disruption: Moving to a new school can disrupt a child’s academic progress. Different schools may have different curricula, pacing, and teaching methods, making it challenging for a child to catch up or adjust quickly.
  2. Social Adjustment: Changing schools may result in losing established friendships and the need to form new social connections. This can be particularly challenging for children who are introverted or find it difficult to make new friends.
  3. Emotional Stress: Changing schools, including leaving familiar surroundings and adjusting to new routines and expectations, can be emotionally stressful for children. They may experience anxiety, sadness, or a sense of loss.
  4. Loss of Continuity: Continuity in education is essential for effective learning. Frequent school changes can disrupt the continuity of a child’s educational experience, making it harder to build on previously learned knowledge and skills.
  5. Identity and Self-Esteem: Children often identify with their school and peers, and changing schools can challenge their sense of identity and self-esteem. They may feel like outsiders in a new environment.
  6. Educational Gaps: In some cases, school transfers can result in educational gaps, where essential topics or skills are missed or repeated. These gaps can affect a child’s long-term academic performance.
  7. Behavioral Changes: The stress of changing schools may lead to changes in behavior, including withdrawal, acting out, or a decline in motivation and engagement.
  8. Parental Stress: Frequent school changes can also be stressful for parents, as they must navigate the enrollment process, communicate with new teachers and school staff, and support their child through transitions.

It’s important to note that not all school changes have negative impacts. In some situations, changing schools can be beneficial. For example:

  1. Improved Educational Opportunities: A school change may offer better educational opportunities, including access to specialized programs, advanced coursework, or extracurricular activities not available at the previous school.
  2. Escape from a Negative Environment: Changing schools may be necessary if a child is experiencing bullying, harassment, or a hostile learning environment at their current school. In such cases, the move can lead to improved well-being.
  3. Family Relocation: Families often change schools due to relocation, which may be beyond their control. In these cases, children can benefit from the experience of adapting to new environments and meeting people from new backgrounds.

To mitigate the potential negative impacts of changing schools, parents and educators can take several steps:

  1. Open Communication: Maintain open and supportive communication with the child, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns.
  2. Smooth Transitions: Work with the new school to facilitate a smooth transition, including sharing academic records and discussing the child’s needs and challenges.
  3. Seek Support: If the child experiences significant difficulties adjusting to the new school, consider seeking support from counselors, teachers, or educational specialists.
  4. Encourage Involvement: Encourage the child to get involved in extracurricular activities and clubs to help them build new social connections.
  5. Monitor Progress: Monitor the child’s academic progress and well-being to address any emerging issues promptly.

Ultimately, while changing schools can be challenging, it is not inherently negative. With appropriate support and a positive approach, children can adapt successfully to new educational environments and thrive academically and socially.  CTA is here to help families navigate this decision. Numerous organizations operating in Cleveland can help families address issues that might push families to consider switching schools. We can also help families connect to those resources. Contact us for assistance.

High School Success: Tips for College and Career Readiness

High school is a crucial period in your life when you begin to lay the foundation for your future, whether pursuing higher education or diving straight into a career. To make the most of these formative years, it’s essential to prepare strategically.

In Cleveland, students have access to mentoring through the True2U program, career exploration through the Greater Cleveland Career Consortium, or support through programs like College Now and Say Yes Cleveland, but not every school provides these programs.

As high school students begin to consider “what’s next,” we wanted to provide some valuable tips on what to do in high school to prepare for college or a successful career.

1. Set Clear Goals
Start by setting clear academic and career goals. Ask yourself what you’re passionate about and what you want to achieve. Having a clear vision will guide your choices throughout high school and beyond.

2. Maintain Good Grades
Your academic performance in high school matters. Good grades open doors to college and demonstrate discipline and work ethic to future employers. Stay organized, manage your time wisely, and seek help if you’re struggling in any subject.

3. Explore Extracurricular Activities
Join clubs, sports teams, or organizations that align with your interests and passions. Extracurricular activities provide opportunities for personal growth and leadership development and can be impressive additions to your college applications and résumé.

4. Build Strong Relationships with Teachers
Forming positive relationships with your teachers can be a game-changer. They can write compelling recommendation letters and offer valuable guidance on your academic journey. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek their support.

5. Start College or Career Exploration Early
Research colleges, universities, or career paths that interest you. Attend college fairs, career workshops, and informational sessions to gain insights into your options. The earlier you start, the better prepared you’ll be to make informed decisions.

6. Take Challenging Courses
If available, challenge yourself academically by taking honors, Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. These courses can boost your GPA and demonstrate your commitment to learning.

7. Develop Strong Study Habits
Effective study habits are crucial for success in high school and beyond. Find a study routine that works for you, stay organized, and avoid procrastination. Learn to manage your time efficiently to balance your academic and extracurricular commitments.

8. Explore Internships and Job Shadowing
If you have a career in mind, consider seeking internships or job shadowing opportunities. These experiences can provide valuable insights into your chosen field, help you build a professional network, and enhance your résumé.

9. Build a Résumé
Create a résumé highlighting your accomplishments, including academic achievements, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and part-time jobs. Tailor your résumé to align with your future goals.

10. Plan Your Standardized Tests
Understand the standardized tests required for college admissions, such as the SAT or ACT, and create a study plan to perform your best. Consider taking these exams multiple times to improve your scores.

11. Financial Literacy
Learn about financial literacy and budgeting. Understanding how to manage money will be essential in college and your future career. Consider saving money from part-time jobs or internships for college expenses.

12. Seek Guidance from Counselors
High school counselors can provide valuable advice on course selection, college applications, and career planning. Schedule regular meetings with your counselor to stay on track.

13. Pursue Your Passions
Don’t forget to enjoy high school! Pursue your passions and hobbies, whether it’s music, art, sports, or any other interest. These activities can provide a much-needed balance to your academic life.

In conclusion, high school is a pivotal time for preparing for college or your future career. By setting goals, maintaining good grades, and actively exploring your interests and options, you’ll be well on your way to success. Remember that every step you take in high school brings you closer to your dreams and aspirations. Stay focused, stay motivated, and make the most of this transformative period in your life.

Content gathered with ChatGPT assistance.

Mental Health Matters

The Cleveland Transformation Alliance reached out to our partner, Moore Counseling & Mediation Services, to learn more about mental health’s importance—not only for our students but for parents/caregivers too.

Mental Health matters because it affects every aspect of our lives, for both the parents and child. Mental health can have major effects on a child’s development and on how they process negative or traumatic experiences, which can, in turn, stunt their emotional, mental, and cognitive development. Mental disorders among children can result in serious changes in how children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which can cause distress and problems with getting through the day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is important for parents to have heart-to-heart conversations with their children as the school year begins to help them learn and implement healthy social skills for the child, in addition to how to cope when a problem or issue arises.

Impacts of the pandemic

As the world is continually modifying the way of life due to the pandemic, such as homeschooling, wearing masks, etc., our mental health can also be affected, leading to an increase in anxiety and depression. It is important to utilize a healthy routine to keep our children grounded while at school or home.

Here are tips and advice that we hope you will find useful.

  • Have a routine – Keep up with daily routines as much as possible.
  • Video games – While they can be a way to relax, they can take up more time than initially intended. Be sure to keep developing a balance of off-line and on-line activities.
  • Social media – Use your social media accounts to promote positive and hopeful stories. Avoid negative content.
  • Rest – Allocate time for school and time for resting while also getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and night.
  • Be Kind – Don’t discriminate against people because of your fears of the spread of the virus.

Benefits of school counselors and therapy

There are many benefits of having school counselors. School counselors are trained, certified professionals who can assist with guiding students. School counselors also provide students a safe place to gain support and help express their thoughts. School counselors are a free resource that can support both issues that teachers face and problems that students may be experiencing. They can even educate parents and assist with questions on child-related problems and/or issues.

When it might be time to seek help.

Some signs it might be time for your child to seek help include:

  • Normal routines are more difficult to complete.
  • Changes in sleep habits or appetite.
  • The sense of sadness and distress frequently.
  • Sudden withdrawal from social activities or peers
  • Self-destructive talk or behavior.

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with Moore Counseling & Mediation Services, Inc. (216) 404-1900 for a list of referrals for adolescent counseling.

Preparing for a Successful School Year

The start of the school year is on the horizon, and with it comes the time to begin preparing students for their return to the classroom. Students and families have very diverse needs and expectations during this time, from early learners entering preschool and Kindergarten to seniors in high school who may need to begin planning for their futures after graduation. This can quickly become overwhelming, so CTA is here to provide some tips to make preparing for the school year easier, keeping those diverse needs in mind.

  1. Find a Routine: One essential for all families, regardless of the age of their students, is to find a routine that works for everyone. Though this routine may change as the school year progresses, families can start preparing their students for the anticipated schedule a few weeks before the year begins. Waking up and getting ready for the day closer to school time and adding extracurriculars to the family calendar are small ways to integrate a new school routine into daily life. Beginning this work early can also reveal parts of a routine that are hard for a family. Embrace your mistakes and find ways to have fun while problem-solving. Include the students in conversations about their routines and challenge them to participate in age-appropriate responsibilities. Turning early-morning chaos into an opportunity for teamwork can encourage constructive uses of individuality and reveal how fulfilling it is to help each other as a family. 
  2. Establish Connections Early: All schools have different cultures, and when selecting your child’s best-fit school, it’s important to ensure that the teachers and administrators there will accommodate your family’s needs. If your child is entering a new building, see if you can find time to tour it and talk to school leaders about their methods and values. Email teachers before the first day of classes to introduce yourself and build an understanding of their expectations. Not only will this help soothe back-to-school anxieties, but it will establish a working relationship between you and your child’s educators that will be long-lasting. In the future, if unforeseen problems arise, you can feel empowered as a parent/caregiver to reach out to the school and return to those expectations set out at the start of the year.
  3. Introduce Self-Advocacy: Schools are imperfect, and sometimes the classroom can introduce difficult and unique challenges to children of any age. One way to combat anxieties around the beginning of the school year and entering a new space is to lean into discomfort and begin conversations about resilience and self-respect. Depending on age and household values, find ways to teach your child about what is and isn’t okay at school and how they can speak up for themselves if classmates and adults were to cross boundaries or treat your child in a way that feels unkind. It is never too early to teach empowerment and advocacy, whether the simple “Golden Rule” or more serious pursuits of College and beyond.

Back-to-school stress is difficult for any family to handle. While these ideas may not remove those challenges, they can introduce value-driven practices to make everyone’s return to the classroom more fun and fulfilling. The Cleveland Transformation Alliance offers other tips, tricks, and resources on our Family Resource Corner.  Use it as a resource throughout the school year!  CTA would like to wish you a successful start to the school year, and we are here to support families in achieving that in every way we can.

Need Help?

Many families need help from time to time. Reach out to and let us know how we can help you.

Get Help

Stay Connected

Subscribe to our newsletter