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Students can SAIL into summer learning

MADISON – Madison students can face and successfully overcome summer learning loss with the Summer Adventures in Learning or SAIL program.

SAIL is a combined effort of Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County and The Schools Foundation. A grant from The Schools Foundation to Madison City Schools made the SAIL program possible.

“Our district is also using federal funding to supplement the grant and provide the best support to our students attending the program this summer,” Dr. Natalia Dooley, MCS Federal Programs Coordinator, said. “SAIL is available to all active EL, or English Learner, students in Madison City Schools on the basis of academic need and prevention of summer slide.”

Madison Elementary School will host the EL SAIL program as a convenient, central location for students across Madison on June 1-30.

SAIL’s staff includes program coordinator Angie Bush; two contract teachers certified in ESL or English as Second Language, elementary education and special education; and two teaching assistants working with EL SAIL students. “We are partnering with Better Basics to provide rigorous and engaging theme-based English Learner instruction in reading and math,” Dooley said.

In addition, a MCS instructional technology team will involve one teacher each for STEM, art and music “to provide experiential learning opportunities for EL SAIL students to make it feel like summer fun,” Dooley said. “Finally, Junior League of Huntsville, University of Alabama in Huntsville and Athens State University will provide volunteers to support additional program needs.”

“On average, low-income students lose two to three months in reading aptitude each summer, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Most youth lose roughly two months of math skills,” Elizabeth Fleming said. Fleming is Executive Director of The Schools Foundation.

Established SAIL programs show that students’ participation in an effective summer learning program can reverse learning loss and yield learning gains, sometimes even benefiting the child for at least two years after the program, Fleming said.

Heart of the Valley is coordinating a SAIL site at Madison County Elementary School. Village of Promise is working with Huntsville City Schools for SAIL at Highlands Elementary School.

Funders for SAIL are Dr. and Mrs. Robert Berinato, Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County, Daniel Foundation of Alabama, ERC Inc., The Junior League of Huntsville, Bob and Cindi Ludwig, PPG, Jan Smith, Torch Technologies, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, United Way of Madison County and Vector Wealth Strategies.

For more information, visit communityfoundationhsv.org/impact/SAIL.

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