2019 Summer Learning Awards
Submission Deadline04/21/2019

About the Summer Learning Awards

About the NSLA Summer Learning Awards

The NSLA Summer Learning Awards recognize outstanding summer programs, models, digital applications, and systems that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for young people. The awards are given annually based on an application process that elicits information on a program’s history, mission, goals, operations, management, staff development, partnerships, outcomes/results, and sustainability.

Since 2005, the New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award, defined by its rigorous application and selection process, has recognized enrollment-based programs employing staff who work directly with youth.

Established in 2015, the New York Life Foundation Founder’s Award recognizes informal programs, other non-traditional forms of summer learning innovation, that are critical to serving the diverse needs of schools, families, and children.

Debuting in 2018, the Lands’ End Love Learning Award aims to shine a spotlight on quality programs that bring learning to life in informal learning spaces and support families in meaningful ways.

Round 2 applications are due March 10, 2019 @ 6pm ET/3pm PT.

About The National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap through high quality summer learning for all children and youth. Our work centers on three strategic priorities:

  • Recognizing and disseminating what works in summer learning.
  • Offering expertise and support for programs and communities to strengthen and expand summer learning opportunities.
  • Convening leaders and advocating for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education.

Our vision is that all children and youth have access to high-quality summer learning experiences to help them succeed in college, career, and life.

Click here for more information about NSLA.


Application Process, Recognition and Benefits, Eligibility Requirements

Application Process:

Programs are measured against the Summer Learning Program Quality Assessment (SLPQA), developed in partnership between NSLA and the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.

  • Round One: Complete the Round 1 online application

  • Round Two: Complete the Round 2 online application and phone Interview (semi-finalists)

  • Round Three: Site Visit (finalists)

NSLA staff, partners, and previous winners review written applications completed online. Phone interviews are also conducted by a  A mixed group of NSLA staff and external experts also conduct phone interviews. Finally, NSLA staff conduct site visits to a select group of finalists to observe program activities before selecting award winners. The Summer Learning Awards seeks to find and draw national attention to exemplary summer programs, models, and systems, which provide and expand access to high-quality summer learning experiences for all young people. The award does not give preference to applicants based on program location or size. The award does not give preference to applicants based on program location or size; however, NSLA strongly encourages applications from programs in the following categories:

  • STEM or STEAM (includes digital media)
  • Early Literacy
  • College & Career Readiness
  • Serving boys or young men of color
  • Targeting key transition period (elementary to middle, middle to high, high to college)
  • Health & Wellness
  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Leadership & Teamwork
  • Inclusion
  • Anytime, Anywhere Learning

In October, NSLA will host an interactive webinar featuring tips for your application and best practices from our 2018 winners. Please sign up for NSLA’s e-newsletter, The Summer Times, to stay up to date: www.summerlearning.org/newsletter-sign- up.

Why Apply for an Excellence in Summer Learning Award?

Your program receives a feedback summary outlining strengths and areas for improvement when you submit an application for one of the Summer Learning Awards.

All finalists that do not win the award receive a detailed feedback report similar to having a full quality assessment and phone call with two members of the NSLA Program Quality Team. A quality assessment for one single program site is valued at up to $4,000.

As an award winner your program will receive:

  • A monetary prize of $10,000 generously provided by the New York Life Foundation and Lands' End.
  • Visibility at the Summer Changes Everything™ national conference and in the Summer Times e-newsletter.
  • Invitations to participate in panel discussions, funder summits, webinars, or conference presentations with or on behalf of NSLA.
  • National exposure through a NSLA press release during the busy summer learning season, along with a template press release and talking points to promote your program.
  • Professional development opportunities with peer organizations through NSLA’s new affinity group structure.
  • Possible future case studies or features in NSLA presentations, publications, or reports widely distributed throughout the education field and staged on summerlearning.org.
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