It is also known as the “The”summer brain drain“, and it affects students of all ages. Children lose knowledge during the long, hot summer months when they aren’t engaged in education activities over the vacation.

On average, students lose about 2.6 months’ grade-level equivalency for mathematical computation skills. This is especially true for students with low incomes. About two-thirds (65%) of the ninth grade achievement gap between higher-income and lower-income youths can be attributed to inequal access to summer learning opportunities during elementary school years.

Summer brain drain is not something to be taken lightly by teachers. In fact, over one million high school students did not graduate in 2010.

National graduation rates currently stand at 75 percent. This is due to 15 million unsupervised students after school ends, and another 24 million who need supervision in the summer. Low graduation rates lead to increased unemployment, poor health and drug abuse. It reduces America’s tax revenue, and increases its public-assistance costs.

It is crucial to change the educational equation to include community collaborations if we are to solve the high school dropout problem.

These critical pieces of the puzzle — organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) — provide refuge for youth during critical out-of-school hours. These organizations aim to provide youth with a safe place to continue learning and growing as individuals, so that they can become responsible, productive, caring adults.

To further this goal, BGCA received $1 million from AT&T to expand the “Be Great: Graduate”Helps rising 8th and ninth graders transition successfully into high school. The Be Great: Graduate program uses proven risk factors to identify high-risk youth and intervenes using a mentorship program. To this point, the program has focused on high-school students, but with support from AT&T, BGCA will be expanding the program to younger participants through the launch of “Be Ready.”

Visit this page to learn more about the Be Great and Be Ready Programs.