Success Stories

Make Sure Your School Stands Out

Make Sure Your School Stands Out 300 161 admin

At the forefront of innovative leadership are schools and school districts that are implementing school-wide summer review programs.  These districts are ensuring that every student returns in the fall confident and prepared to learn.   And they are getting noticed – Star International Academy in Dearborn MI, a ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program school, earned the top spot in Michigan’s top-to-bottom ranking of  student achievement across comparable schools. The ranking highlighted Star Academy’s ability to add significant value beyond a students’ expected achievement based on their income level. In Michigan, schools are funded based on a per student grant monies.

Every school in Michigan competes to attract students – and every little bit counts when it comes to making sure a school stands out.  Star Academy stands out by offering a culture of year round learning with the Thinkstretch Summer Learning Program.

As Star Academy demonstrates, the impact of implementing a school-wide summer review program positively touches parents, students, teachers and administrators.  As a district builds a school year pattern that includes summer learning:

  • Students return in the fall confident and prepared to learn
  • Parents are continuously involved in student learning
  • Teachers transition into school year routines with ease
  • Teachers introduce new learning at a quicker rate
  • Districts fulfill state requirements for parent engagement and extended learning opportunities
  • Districts demonstrate leadership and innovation in achieving high levels of student achievement and proficiency

Quality instruction and leadership demands that districts stop leaving hard earned learning on the table.  Students simply cannot retain their school year skills over a summer break dictated by an agrarian calendar.  Summer skill review must become an accepted part of the school year calendar, led and supported by innovative districts, for our schools to move to the next level of academic achievement.

ThinkStretch maintains academic skills at Family Learning Institute

ThinkStretch maintains academic skills at Family Learning Institute 300 224 admin

Using the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program this summer as a part of their summer program Brain Boot Camp, Family Learning Institute (FLI) in Ann Arbor, MI maintained or improved every student’s academic skills!

Focusing on reading, writing and math, students spend 4 hours, once a week at FLI engaged in fun learning activities as well as academic activities to combat summer brain drain. ThinkStretch provided the backbone of the academic program with volunteer tutors directing hands on learning extensions.

At the start of the summer, FLI assesses each student’s academic placement. Working to each student’s level, FLI completes the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program and assesses the students again at the conclusion of the six week program. For the fourth summer in a row, FLI demonstrated that each of the over 30 students in the program maintained or improved their academic outcomes.

Family Learning Institute works closely with the Ann Arbor Public Schools and focuses on the persistent disparity in test scores, grades, and graduation rates between economically disadvantaged and other students.

“We have used ThinkStretch for four years and are looking forward to using it again next summer,” praised Executive Director Amy Rolfes. Ms. Rolfes complimented ThinkStretch for its intriguing writing prompts, complete mathematic content and its colorful, quality achievement medals. “We have a gold medal celebration with the kids hooting and cheering for the students who have completed their work!”

Way to Go, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati!

Way to Go, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati! 150 150 admin

Summer Learning Program Assists YMCA in Becoming Finalist for Award of Excellence

ThinkStretch, a summer learning program for pre-k to sixth grade students, was featured as part of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s award-winning YMCA Better Together Summer Program, was named a 2012 Excellence in Summer Learning Awards finalist.


PRLog (Press Release) – Mar. 26, 2013 – ANN ARBOR, Mich. — ANN ARBOR, Mich. – March 26, 2013 – ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program provided an essential element to YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s YMCA Better Together Summer Program, which has been named as a finalist for the 2012 Excellence in Summer Learning Awards by the National Summer Learning Association. The YMCA Cincinnati’s summer program served over 2,500 youth in 2012.

YMCA branches received grade‐level aligned ThinkStretch summer learning workbooks to ensure that the children not only maintained skills gained during the previous school year, but also had the opportunity to increase skills in key areas such as math, reading, writing, and science. ThinkStretch has been an important component of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati’s summer programming since 2009.

The YMCA Better Together Summer Program combined the ThinkStretch summer learning workbooks with field trips, meals, music, and art to strengthen students’ academic futures and work to close the achievement gap. The program was so successful, 94 percent of participating students said they planned to attend college. Independent evaluators indicated that students participating in the program achieved:
• 57 percent average increase in reading test scores
• 51 percent average increase in math scores

“ThinkStretch is proud to have been chosen by the YMCA to support their students and families,” said Donna Lasinski, Founder and President of ThinkStretch. “Stopping summer learning loss is a key piece in the puzzle to reduce the achievement gap.”

The Excellence in Summer Learning Award, given annually by the National Summer Learning Association, recognizes outstanding summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for young people between kindergarten and twelfth grade.
The ThinkStretch program has been proven to maintain year end academic outcomes for math and reading in students, helps prevent summer learning loss, and keeps students engaged in learning all summer long.

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