2015 In the News

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Education Programs Open for Summer - Noozhawk

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Education Programs Open for Summer - Noozhawk

By Angel Pacheco for Peoples’ Self-Help Housing | Published on 06.25.2015 11:37 a.m.

Recognizing that research has shown low-income students lose more academic skills over summer than their middle-class peers, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing will continue operating its Youth Education Enhancement Program (YEEP) at learning centers at eight of its affordable rental complexes throughout the summer, serving 240 students.

As it has over past summers, the YEEP program will help from low-income families improve their literacy, English and math skills, rather than allowing these skills to regress over the traditionally inactive summer months.

While most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computations skills over the summer, low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, the National Summer Learning Association reports (Cooper, 1996). Their middle-class peers meanwhile make slight gains in reading achievement over the summer.

“A strong education is key to success in these students’ lives, so offering summer education at our properties was a natural fit for our mission,” said John Fowler, president/CEO of Peoples’ Self-Help Housing. “We want these kids to have promising futures in addition to safe homes to grow up in.”

Duke University Professor Harris Cooper, Ph.D., said, “We speculated that middle-class summer school programs may have better funding and resources. And it also may be simply that the problems of poor kids are much more entrenched and difficult to address, more remedial in nature. Some have proposed the 'faucet theory,' which suggests that when summer comes around, academic resources for the poor are turned off. Middle-class and better-off parents, however, have the resources on their own to compensate to some degree and provide whatever their children might need — remediation, enrichment, or acceleration-type activities when school is not in session.”

YEEP educators work with students on their literacy, English, and math skills. The program improves grade-point averages, sharpens reading and study skills, promotes high school graduation, builds self-esteem and fosters parent participation in their child’s academic life. In addition to math, English, and literacy skill building, YEEP students learn about and work on projects in areas such as social studies, computers, community service, science, history, music, theatre, dance and physical education.

The YEEP program will also continue providing students with lunches throughout the summer months with contributions from area Foodbanks. About 50,000 kids in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties receive free or reduced priced meals during the school year, but they lose that access over the summer. YEEP served more than 11,000 lunches last summer to children who may have otherwise had nothing else to eat.

The following YEEP programs will be serving the specified number of students all summer:

» Los Adobes de Maria II, Santa Maria: 40

» River View Townhomes, Guadalupe: 40

» Mariposa, Townhomes, Orcutt: 40

» Courtland Street Apartments, Arroyo Grande: 30

» Canyon Creek Apartments, Paso Robles: 20

» Ladera Apartments, Santa Barbara: 20

» Dahlia Court II, Carpinteria: 30

» St. Vincent’s Gardens, Santa Barbara: 20

National Summer Learning Association Facts:

» Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).

» More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).

— Angel Pacheco is a publicist representing Peoples’ Self-Help Housing.