2017 Passport To Summer Learning Distributed To 15,000 Students Citywide

June 20, 2017

Summer activities begin next week at Passport partner sites

Providence Public Library (PPL) and presenting partners Providence Community Library (PCL), Mayor Jorge Elorza/City of Providence, and Providence Public Schools announce the distribution of the 2017 Passport to Summer Learning to up to 15,000 students in grades K – 5. Now in its third year, the Passport to Summer Learning is a collaborative initiative to address summer learning loss and mitigate achievement gaps among children with the least access to community assets and educational resources. The program has achieved continued success and expanded partnerships, with this year’s Passport being distributed to area Charter schools and even to some preschool children.

Sent home prior to the end of the school year with each student in grades K – 5, with accompanying parent information, the Passport to Summer Learning encourages students to read daily during the summer and to spend time with family out in the community. The Passport promotes an array of engaging, enriching, and free activities offered in and around the city by Passport collaborating partners and other organizations.

​The accompanying mobile-friendly website (https://hub.provlib.org/passport/) has been expanded to include a calendar listing events and summer learning activities at collaborating organizations, as well as reading lists and learning activities for each grade; it also offers parent resources.

​“We are incredibly proud of this project and excited with the community’s response to the Passport,” said Anne Kilkenny, PPL’s Early Childhood Services Coordinator. “We are also thrilled with the level of commitment and involvement of all the Passport partners and supporters, which have enabled the immense growth and improvement of the program over the two summers since our pilot. It validates that we are indeed addressing a critical need in our community.”

​Launched by PPL in 2015, the Passport pilot was a success, engaging more than 200 children and families. As a result, in 2016, the Passport gained the support of the Providence Public Schools and the Children and Youth Cabinet, which resulted in 13,000 passports being distributed to every Providence public school student in grades K – 5. The Passport’s continued expansion this year includes distribution to area charter schools and even some preschool children.

​Further, in response to the community’s needs, the 2017 Passport has been redesigned to be more informative for families and much more user-friendly. There are more options for recording reading, both in the Passport and online at(https://providence.readsquared.com/), and partner sites, parks, pools, free summer meals and farmer’s markets are listed as well. As in 2016, the Passport is in both English and Spanish.

​In addition to the presenting partners, other supporting and participating organizations include: Books Are Wings, Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the Office of the Secretary of State, Partnership for Providence Parks, Providence Children’s Museum, Providence Play Corps, Rhode Island Historical Society, Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services, RISD Museum and Roger Williams Park Zoo.

​This year’s Passport is funded through grants from Nordson Corp. Foundation, Collette, and Providence Journal Charitable Legacy Trust.

“The Passport to Summer Learning is helping us ensure that Providence students have access to fun learning opportunities all year long,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “I’m excited that this project will help us fight the summer learning loss that students experience during the break. I thank all of our community partners for their help in keeping students on track.”

​“A priority of Providence Public Schools is to keep our students engaged in learning during the summer break. The Passport program not only encourages daily reading – a key activity for stemming summer learning loss – but also encourages families to explore and learn throughout the community. It is a fantastic collaboration, and we are proud to be a partner” said Superintendent Christopher N. Maher.

​When school begins in September, students will return their Passports to their schools, earning certificates and prizes for participation and, for schools with a 35 percent or more return rate, a school-wide celebration.

​During the summer, students will have the opportunity to visit the Providence Community Library’s (PCL’s) Mobile Library at 10 elementary schools around the city. Students will work on their Passports at mobile library sites and engage in summer learning through reading, working with on-site math tutors and additional fun activities, games and performances. Additionally, the PCL Mobile Library will provide services to 10 Providence Recreation Day Camps in a partnership with the Healthy Communities Office and Providence Recreation Department. Youth will read and participate in literacy-rich activities every day as part of their camp experience, led by Providence high school and college students who are being hired as part of Providence’s summer youth employment program. PCL Library Director, Jeff Cannell, commented ” We’re excited to bring library services right into neighborhoods so that every student can explore the Passport to Summer Learning to the full.”

​The Passport partners have worked together to provide special literacy activities for Passport students, additional free sessions and more free activities for participants. Going forward, we are also working to increase Storywalks (books deconstructed and put along walking paths to encourage families to have an interactive, healthy, educational experience) throughout the city, especially at partner sites.

Utilizing current research on the impact of learning opportunities during out-of-school time and opportunities for families to participate in experiences together, this program is a collaboration with community organizations across the city of Providence.

​“This project demonstrates collectively that we can respond quickly, efficiently and effectively to needs within the community through focused, intentional collaborations that reach more children and families than it would if any of us were to take this project on singularly,” said Jack Martin, PPL Director.