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Large-Scale National Study Finds Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Summer Boost Initiative Significantly Accelerates Learning Recovery

Study of more than 35,000 students shows significant gains in math and ELA and academic recovery across demographics and education levels

Bloomberg Philanthropies announces continuation of Summer Boost program in seven U.S. cities and new partnership with Richmond Public Schools to support year-round learning

New York, NY – Bloomberg Philanthropies today unveiled positive findings from one of the largest and most comprehensive national studies assessing the effectiveness of summer learning in bridging post-pandemic learning gaps. The study highlights the pivotal role of Summer Boost — Bloomberg Philanthropies’ intensive summer learning initiative for rising first through ninth grade public charter school students — in accelerating learning across various regions and demographics. The study was conducted by MGT, a social impact firm focused on improving outcomes for children, with contributions from researchers at Harvard University and Arizona State University. As a result of Summer Boost’s positive impacts on student learning loss recovery, Bloomberg Philanthropies will again host Summer Boost in 2024 to serve students from approximately 450 public charter schools across seven U.S. cities, including Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; San Antonio, TX; and Washington, D.C.

Summer Boost was specially designed in 2022 in response to COVID-related learning loss to support students over a five-week period in advancing academic progress in English Language Arts (ELA) and math while providing engaging enrichment opportunities. Bloomberg Philanthropies launched its inaugural Summer Boost program in New York City and then expanded to Baltimore, Birmingham, Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C. in 2023.

The study was conducted over the course of Summer Boost’s 2023 program and analyzed student data across participating cities using benchmarks from i-Ready and MAP Growth national assessments. Researchers primarily used a Difference in Differences approach to assess Summer Boost’s impact on student growth comparing program participants against other students from the same schools and grades who did not attend. To further validate Summer Boost’s impact, researchers compared achievement data for both groups at multiple time points before Summer Boost 2023.

Notably, the study found that students gained on average an additional four to five weeks of learning in math, relative to their non-Summer Boost peers, recovering approximately 31 percent of Covid-related learning loss. For ELA, students also gained on average an additional three to four weeks of learning relative to their non-Summer Boost peers and recovered approximately 22 percent of Covid-related learning loss. All student demographic groups saw higher rates of growth compared to their non-Summer Boost peers in math and ELA, with English Language Learners gaining on average a total of seven additional weeks of learning in math and eight weeks in ELA. Please find the study here.

“Reversing the unprecedented levels of learning loss from the pandemic remains an urgent challenge,” said Michael. R Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City. “Bloomberg Philanthropies will keep doing our part by continuing the Summer Boost initiative, which has proven effective at helping more students make up lost ground and get back on track to success.”

Other key findings from the study include:

  • High attendance rates, particularly over the 70% mark, were correlated with positive student growth.
  • Student growth was observed regardless of the curriculum being taught across the geographies.
  • Summer Boost programs that included a strong focus on academics, balanced with additional time spent on enrichment programming saw the strongest result.

“Summer is the most unequal time of year educationally, since not all parents can afford activities like science or music camps,” said Prof. Tom Kane from Harvard University. “Summer Boost allows students to regain what they missed during the pandemic, which was time learning with educators. Expanding summer learning is the most obvious choice for closing educational gaps.”

In 2024, Summer Boost will receive generous support from the George W. Brackenridge Foundation, The Carson Family Charitable Trust, City Education Partners, Choose to Succeed, Joe C. Davis Foundation, The Ewing Halsell Foundation, Hyde Family Foundation, Pyramid Peak Foundation, Robin Hood, San Antonio Area Foundation, and the Scarlett Family Foundation.

“We are delighted that Summer Boost will again serve students and families in greater San Antonio,” said Dan Fishman, CEO of Choose to Succeed. “Participation will nearly double this year, based on the strength of academic and enrichment opportunities the program affords the children who need them most. A greatly expanded cohort of school leaders are eager to run Summer Boost programs in San Antonio, either for the first time or as veteran participants. They have seen with their own eyes and through the data what a significant and lasting academic impact this program has had on their students. Few programs so elegantly combine eye-opening enrichment with rigorous academic gains.”

“Before DREAM was a network of schools, we were first a summer learning program,” said Eve Colavito, Co-CEO of DREAM Charter Schools in New York City. “Accordingly, our organization understands the value of summer, and the communities we serve choose DREAM in part because summer is core to our value proposition. Summer Boost has allowed us to deliver on this promise in ways we’ve previously only imagined – ensuring that every DREAM scholar has access to robust academic and enrichment programming that halts the summer slide, ensures kids hit the ground running every fall, and ultimately closes the achievement gap. DREAM is honored and excited to launch our third summer in the program, this year with more than 1500 students participating. We know the outcomes – immediate and longer term – justify this extraordinary investment.”

“Summer Boost 2023 was a great success for our school community,” said Simon Rodberg, Executive Director of Lee Montessori Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. “When the opportunity arose to continue that success in 2024, it was as easy a decision as a school leader gets to make. We’re excited to serve our kids and help them grow this summer, during a time when many students fall further behind. Instead, this will be a summer of learning and fun at Lee Montessori.”

Furthering its commitment to year-round learning and combatting summer learning loss, Bloomberg Philanthropies will also support Richmond Public Schools’ extended-year pilot program, RPS200, with a $2.5 million investment. As a result of this catalytic funding, the RPS200 program will expand to Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School and Woodville Elementary School in SY2024-25 after first launching at Fairfield Court Elementary and Cardinal Elementary in SY2023-24. The funding will specifically support teacher, staff, and administrator salaries. Since the launch of the pilot program, the district has observed improved attendance, reduced absenteeism, and increased academic achievement across student participants.

“The unprecedented pandemic requires an unprecedented response like RPS200,” said Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras. “Two years ago, we developed a roadmap to recovery, and making space for more meaningful instruction was key. Thanks to support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we’re thrilled to be able to expand the school year by 20 instructional days for 750 more students, as we’ve seen tremendous academic and social-emotional gains from the young people who participated this year.”

For more information and to access the complete study, please visit.


About Bloomberg Philanthropies: 
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 700 cities and 150 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on creating lasting change in five key areas: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy that advises cities around the world. In 2023, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3 billion. For more information, please visit, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Threads, Facebook, and X.

Media Contact:
Jamila Johnson, Bloomberg Philanthropies,