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Sociedad Latina's Summer Pilot program turns summer school into business school

The new, free Sociedad Summer Pilot, designed and run in partnership with Boston Public Schools and Boston After School & Beyond, puts an entrepreneurial twist on summer learning for middle school students. Created to continue math and literacy skill building beyond the school year, SSP's unique enrichment component weaves business plan projects into daily instruction to keep students actively engaged over summer break.

Mission Hill, MA, July 20, 2010 - Summer school doesn%u201Ft have to be filled with long days of staring out the window thinking about games in the park and trips to the beach. With the new Sociedad Summer Pilot (SSP) that launched this month, students turn into budding entrepreneurs through a project-based enrichment component and flip daydreams into aspirations.

Through a partnership with BPS and Boston After School & Beyond, Sociedad Latina%u201Fs summer learning program, the free SSP for middle school students, weaves business themes into math and literacy skill building. The six-week, daily summer program encourages learning by exploring talents through its "Be Your Own Entrepreneur" program. Projects include designing your own restaurant, creating your ideal community, starting a record label, and designing your own clothing line.

Summer learning is imperative for our urban community. A 2007 Johns Hopkins University study found low-income students improve academically at a similar rate to their more advantaged peers. However, about two-thirds of the ninth grade achievement gap between the two groups could be attributable to a "summer slide" or "summer setback" that low-income students experience. Middle- and upper-income students often boost their skills over the summer, while low-income students fall behind.

SSP is a strategically planned summer experience for students, ideal for keeping engagement up and preparing for the upcoming school year. The nine-month school calendar was designed when the vast majority of Americans were involved in agriculture. Now, with less than 5 percent in those professions, there is little justification in allowing students to lose what they have already learned to a summer diet of too much TV and video games.

"The Sociedad Summer Pilot presents a powerful counterweight to these achievement trends," says Executive Director Alexandra Oliver-Dávila. "By integrating the „Young Entrepreneurs%u201F projects, we%u201Fre giving students an enticing addition to their learning and keeping them on-track for success."

As with Sociedad Latina%u201Fs successful Saturday ELL Academy held this past June in partnership with BPS%u201F Office for English Language Learners, SSP will integrate Cultural Proficiency standards into SSP programming. Sociedad Latina%u201Fs Initiative to Build Cultural Proficiency in Boston Public Schools is working to ensure all students receive equal opportunities for learning, regardless of ethnic, geographic, or language background.

Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has been working in partnership with Latino youth to cultivate the next generation of leaders by providing empowering educational, cultural, workforce development, and community engagement programming.