Walmart Foundation will provide summer learning and meals for middle school students | Schools

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Walmart Foundation will provide summer learning and meals for middle school students
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools was recently awarded the District Summer Learning Initiative grant through the Walmart Foundation in the amount of $750,000 over two years to serve 800 youth in the 2012 Superintendent’s Summer Academy Programs. At a time when school districts around the country are curtailing summer learning programs in response to budget cuts, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) received a $4 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to provide more than 7,000 summer learning opportunities for middle school students.

These free programs will help students avoid summer learning loss and return to the classroom ready to learn in the fall.  All students in Duval County Title I middle schools who are bridging grades five to six are eligible to attend the program. Students in the five Title I Turnaround middle schools bridging grades eight to nine are also eligible to attend.

“This funding allows us to provide needed opportunities for students to ensure that all of our students graduate prepared for post-secondary education or the world of work,” said Duval County Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Kathryn LeRoy. “The program supports the enhancement of the required reading and mathematics skills to be successful in a new middle or high school environment. 

Duval County Public Schools was selected based on the quality of existing programming, capacity for expansion and vision for connecting summer learning to the larger district reform agenda. In addition to Duval County Public Schools, the grant will support summer learning programs operated by the Houston Independent School District, Oakland’s Unified School District, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Providence Public Schools.

“Duval County has designed its Superintendent’s Academy to accelerate student achievement in reading, mathematics and science with the specific aim of producing more graduates ready for college and career,” said Gary Huggins, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. “At a time when districts are forced to make very tough choices with public funding, we are pleased to work with the Walmart Foundation to make this opportunity available to more students.”

Duval County Public Schools will provide healthful meals to students who, research shows, often have difficulty accessing federally funded meals during the summer. The Food Research and Action Center announced that six out of seven children eligible for such meals during the school year did not receive similar meals during summer 2011.

The grant continues the Walmart Foundation’s support for NSLA and summer learning for middle school youth. Walmart’s 2012 Summer Giving program is part of an ongoing, multi-year effort to support the health and development of our nation’s children. To date, Walmart’s efforts have impacted nearly 150,000 children, providing summer learning, summer meals and summer jobs.

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