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summer school

FINDING INNER PEACE—Students in summer school at McKinley-Brighton Elementary in Syracuse, New York, practice mindfulness and yoga for 30 minutes every day.

But this only works if students practice mindfulness daily, and they do during summer school at a Syracuse, New York, elementary. Schools can change a punitive culture by training teachers to practice mindfulness and meditation, too.

A camper at Pittsburgh Public Schools' Camp University Prep learns how to use a pottery wheel.

Whether school administrators are braving a hard winter, cheering on their school basketball teams or focusing on end-of-year assessments, summer vacation could seem like a long way off. But for many districts planning for summer school, the months of June and July are closer than they seem.

Summer programs for students in the Kashunamiut School District in western Alaska connect reading and math with native Alaskan culture.

Despite mounting evidence that summer programs drive student achievement, making ends meet is another matter.

In 2011, there were 13,000 students in the Santa Ana Unified School District’s new summer program, but its federal grant ran out, leaving the district to cull funding from its Title I and Title III (for ELL students) funding. And it forced Chief Academic Officer Michelle Rodriguez to reduce the number of summer students by almost 5,000.

In the Portland Public Schools in Maine, administrators depend each year on renewed foundation funding.