Giving Compass' Take:

• Tara García Mathewson explains how Baltimore's Summer Arts and Learning Academy is preventing low-income students from losing their math and literacy skills over the summer.

• Now that the program has been proven successful, Baltimore is scaling it. How can philanthropy help to scale and replicate effective programs like this one?

• Learn about disrupting arts philanthropy

It’s technically summer vacation, but about 6,000 kids from Baltimore City Public Schools will spend at least a portion of their break in a school building. And more than a third of them are getting their summer doses of math and literacy instruction by way of the arts.

Around the country, most elementary school students’ math and reading ability stops progressing over the summer, and kids from low-income families are particularly at risk of slipping backwards. While students of all socioeconomic classes tend to learn at about the same pace during the school year, the impact of summer learning loss is cumulative, and low-income kids can be as many as three years behind their peers by fifth grade.

Baltimore is combating that trend. Its Summer Arts and Learning Academy, for elementary schoolers from high-poverty schools, has been particularly effective at minimizing summer learning loss, as measured by reading and math assessments in the spring and fall from one school year to the next. The academy is run by Young Audiences, a Baltimore nonprofit dedicated to arts-based education. And students seem to love it.

Armed with program evaluation data, Baltimore City Public Schools has expanded the academy from one to eight sites over the last four years. It now serves about 2,200 kids, who spend their days learning a wide range of art forms from professional teaching artists, while also keeping their math and reading skills sharp.

Read the full article about arts to combat the achievement gap by Tara García Mathewson at The Hechinger Report.