News and analysis
January 05, 2016

Alejandro Gac-Artigas: Reversing Children’s Summer Slump

Jessie Fox

Alejandro Gac-Artigas, 27
Founder and Chief Executive, Springboard Collaborative
Philadelphia

When Alejandro Gac-Artigas taught first grade in Philadelphia, he was shocked that it took until November for his students to read at the same level they had at the end of kindergarten.

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But the young teacher refused to accept that such a summer slide was inevitable. At the end of his stint with Teach for America, he started Springboard Collaborative. The nonprofit works with urban school districts to run intensive, five-week summer reading programs for kids. Four years later, the results are impressive. Last summer the group served 2,000 children in Philadelphia and Oakland. Students didn’t just avoid learning loss; they gained an average of three months in reading proficiency.

Springboard’s secret weapon is parents. Weekly sessions teach parents how to be reading coaches for their kids, even if the parents themselves have trouble reading or don’t speak English.

"Parents’ love for their children is the single greatest — and most underutilized — resource in education," says Mr. Gac-Artigas.

Send an email to Nicole Wallace.