summer learning

We Can All Be Learning Heroes

Once again, it’s time for Always Learning to ask “how are the children.”

When it comes to school, the answer for students is “they’ve fallen massively behind and their parents who rely solely on monitoring grades aren’t getting the full story.

And that’s where my friends at Learning Heroes come in. 

Today they launched Go Beyond Grades, a campaign in several cities to create achievement-focused partnerships between parents and educators that keep kids learning all year long.

The GBG website gives families tools for connecting with their child's teachers to understand better how their children can grow and learn, specifically during the summer. I’m so here for that.

As one half of a busy parenting duo, I know how important it is to have easy-to-understand resources and tangible tools that solve real problems. Most parents don’t have all the time in the world to study the ins and outs of monitoring their kids’ educational progress. 

Many of us have questions about which data source to prioritize: grades or summative tests, or sporadic emails from educators. Traditionally, grades were the thing that matter most, but too much faith in that one source of information could mask bigger issues.

Go Beyond Grades campaign by Learning Heroes.

Grades aren’t everything

Despite the pandemic’s challenging circumstances, many parents believe their children are performing at or above grade level in reading and math. 

National data says otherwise. 

While grades can be strong indicators of how students are doing, they do not fully reflect a child’s learning. Teachers tell us that ongoing communication with parents is critical to fully understanding how a child is doing in school. 

For more about that, see this video:

Shared power between parents and teachers

Years of research tell us informed and involved parents are key to children’s success. 

Students whose parents are involved in their education not only are set up to be life-long learners, but they also experience a long list of benefits including better attendance, behavior, grades, social skills, higher grades, higher school and college graduation rates, and greater self-confidence and motivation in the classroom.

Teachers also feel the benefits. Having more information about the home side of a student helps educators prepare better. Knowing they have parents’ support ensures they feel equipped to take academic risks and push students to learn more. 

Too often, the home-school communication loop isn’t productive. Sometimes it’s nonexistent. A huge part of that problem is that parents aren’t trained to make the most of school interactions, and many of us figure it out as we go along.

I’m all in on any effort that helps families become vital partners with their child's teacher and helps us understand how to support our children’s learning during the summer. That gets my unqualified support.

This campaign couldn’t come at a better time for me, because I was losing hope that education advocates could focus on anything other than issues that divide the public and don’t offer anything real to a movement that fights for better academic outcomes. 

I am so happy to see Learning Heroes living up to its name.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about summer learning, please read this story.

Banner photo by  Ismail Salad Osman Hajji dirir on Unsplash.  Inside story photo courtesy of Learning Heroes.

Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of brightbeam. He was named CEO in April 2019, after formerly serving as chief executive of Wayfinder Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. In the past, Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, ...

Join the Movement

Read more about summer learning