HISD Tests Program to Combat Summer Brain Drain

Educators call it the summer "brain drain," when students leave for summer break and forget what they've learned in school that year. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, a local pilot program is helping keep some of the youngest minds in HISD engaged over the next month.

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About 200 HISD second-graders are enrolled in the district's Summer Opportunity Sessions, a free, four week program that stresses math and science skills, subjects that are often quickly forgotten during the summer. HISD Superintendent Dr. Abe Saavedra says the program is already underway at Rodriguez and Roosevelt Elementary schools.

"I think any teacher will tell you that when school opens up in August and September, unless the child has remained engaged academically throughout the summer, they tend to lose ground. We're setting-up this program to ensure that specifically in the area of math and science that these young people do not lose ground."

Houston Mayor Bill White says the SOS program has real potential and could be expanded if it works.

"If we do this right and if the results are good when we test the results, we hope this will be a model to be expanded in HISD the following summer and be a model for this entire state and nation for what we can do by offering some of our young people an opportunity not to lose those critical skills during the summer."

The program is for low-income students who aren't required to take summer school. Private funding is covering the $325,000 cost of the program.

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