Editorial: Make an impact; help extend learning through summer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raising the academic achievement of Rowan-Salisbury students is one of the community’s top priorities. That effort cannot afford to take a summer vacation.

The Salisbury Post is launching a drive today to raise $76,000 for a summer reading program for middle and high school students. We call it Impact Summer Reading.

The goal is to make sure every middle and high school student in the Rowan-Salisbury system leaves school next month with a book to read over the summer. The schools will host events in which students can discuss the books, take part in related activities and even swap books.

The schools are conducting a book drive to help elementary school children over the summer, Give 5, Read 5.

Summer learning loss is a long-recognized problem. The “use it or lose it” principle strongly applies to what young people learn in school. Studies have shown that reading comprehension scores of disadvantaged students are particularly hard hit by the extended summer vacation. They typically have fewer opportunities than their peers to practice and improve reading skills over the summer.

Over half of the students in Rowan-Salisbury Schools qualify for free and reduced lunch. And, to be frank, the achievement levels of students across the board are of concern. While strides have been made during this school year, past test scores found proficiency levels in the schools well below state average. Dr. Lynn Moody, superintendent, issued a call to action last fall for everyone to get involved in improving student achievement, and success requires an all-out effort.

To have an impact on a young person’s life, consider helping to Impact Summer Reading by making a donation:

• To the school of the donor’s choice. Checks should be made out to the school, with “Impact Summer Reading” in the memo line.

• To the Rowan-Salisbury School System, with “Impact Summer Reading” in the memo line. Please mail to Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Attn: Tara Trexler, P.O. Box 2349, Salisbury, NC 28145-2349.

• By credit card online at https://www.fftc.org/impact-summer-reading-program. Note that credit card companies take a 3 percent fee, approximately, out of each transaction.

• For those who make their donations through Foundations for the Carolinas, call Meg Dees at 704-224-8840.

Turning around student achievement in the Rowan-Salisbury schools is an essential element in Rowan County’s longterm vitality. With your help, that push can continue through the summer. Learning cannot take a vacation.