Central to BellXcel’s approach to summer learning is its commitment to rapid-cycle continuous improvement. In the SCRI Research Brief, Quality Can’t Wait: Cultivating Continuous Improvement, we describe BellXcel’s efforts to integrate continuous improvement from Day 1, with a combined focus on planning, professional development, data collection, coaching, and ongoing support to ensure needed improvements are addressed immediately. Unlike school year programming that has a 9-month window of time to make quality improvements, summer programs often have a short 4-8 weeks to assess and adjust. First impressions—on Day 1 and Week 1—are critical to building trusting relationships with youth and families and paving the way for high attendance and engagement.
This tool guides summer learning leaders through a series of questions to help prepare for Day 1 / Week 1 and avoid common missteps. These questions were identified by BellXcel through its work with partners across the country and focus on key areas such as arrival/dismissal, staff expectations and communication, assessment and data collection, and contingency planning.
The best way to use this tool is to work through responses collaboratively with the team that will be managing summer program implementation and operations.