Recruiting Students for Voluntary Summer Learning Programs

Many public school districts are in the midst of voluntary summer learning programs, especially for children from low-income families. But program availability does not always translate to consistent student attendance. A new recruitment guide on how to market summer learning to parents and students offers guidance and detailed templates that districts and others can use to interest children and families in these programs and encourage their participation.

Summer Learning Recruitment Guide from the Wallace Foundation is based on the experiences of five large urban districts and their community partners that recruited thousands of children for voluntary summer learning programs.

Even though the five participating districts-Boston, Dallas, Duval County, Fla., Pittsburgh, and Rochester-were committed to and experienced with running summer learning programs, they had limited experience in recruiting students. To assist, the Wallace Foundation engaged Crosby Marketing Communications to support the districts and their partner organizations in engaging parents and ultimately attracting students to the programs.

The new marketing guide contains advice drawn from the districts’ recruitment efforts over several years, including which strategies worked the best and why. It also contains insights from focus groups with more than 100 parents about how they think about summer and what would motivate them to sign their children up for voluntary summer learning programs.

The guide contains sample timelines, information on essential elements of the game plan such as sending materials home, reminder calls (robocalls), and confirmation letters/postcards, as well as recommended and optional actions.


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