summer search works
The national data is disturbing: According to the US Department of Education only half of low-income youth graduate from high school. Only 11% of low-income ninth graders will complete a four year college degree on time. Even when they get to college, many low-income youth do not succeed: The Pell Institute finds low-income, first generation college students are four times more likely to leave higher education in their first year than students who do not face either of these risk factors. The waste of potential is alarming.
Summer Search changes the odds for low-income youth and ensures they succeed in school and in life. In 2010 across our network of seven locations:
- 99% of Summer Search seniors graduated high school
- 95% of seniors went to post-secondary education, including 93% to college
- 85% of students in post-secondary are on track to graduate
As important as their success in school, Summer Search expects youth to give back and become leaders. In 2010 over 80% of Summer Search high school students engaged in their communities with 24 or more community service hours.
Summer Search selects highly at risk students with a desire to change their lives.
These results are particularly notable because Summer Search selects students who are low-income and often have significant challenges in their family lives and neighborhoods. In 2010 95% of our students were low-income, defined as eligible for free and reduced price lunch from the federal government. Over 90% were the first in their families to go to college. According to an independent longitudinal study conducted from 2005 to 2009, the students Summer Search accepts and who then persist in the program face more challenges in their families than the students who we do not accept. For example the students we accept who persist are more likely to have a depressed parent, no parent who went to college, or a parent without a job, than the students who we reject from the program. Summer Search students
Summer Search supports change that leads to a successful life.
The school success numbers tell only part of the story. Research shows attitudes and behavior (qualities like tenacity and self-control) are as important to success in life as an IQ or SAT score. To achieve successes like 99% high school graduation each Summer Search student develops accountability and takes ownership over their choices in life. Each student has the opportunity to stretch out of their comfort zone, see how big the world can be, and realize they can play a positive role in it. Every Summer Searcher learns that they can seize opportunities and succeed, if they own and make good choices, and push through the fear that can come with change.
And data shows Summer Search helps students change their attitudes, behaviors, and ultimately make better choices: According to a 2005-2009 independent longitudinal study, by senior year in high school Summer Search students increased more in their coping skills and positive attitudes compared to youth we did not accept who started at the same place in these skills and attitudes. In addition, Summer Search students demonstrated less risky behavior compared to students we did not accept, for example they reported having fewer trouble-making friends.