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School's out — what are YOU doing this summer?

Today is the last day of school, wrapping a year of significant changes for Duval County Public Schools. Big differences in standardized testing will have an impact on students and teachers; new leadership at the district level could bring even further changes for the schools next year.
For students, summer is much more important than many might think. Education professionals have long been concerned about the "summer slide" - the loss of academic knowledge and skills over the summer. And new research suggests that it disproportionately affects low-income students, who often have fewer opportunities for summer learning and enrichment, increasing the achievement gap. This was the subject of a recent appearance we made on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross on WJCT public radio.
But for every child, it's important to keep reading and participate in high-quality activities over the summer to keep skills active. This will look a little different for every family depending on what summer traditions they keep.
Here at JPEF, it will be a busier summer than usual as we gear up for School Board elections in August - make sure your calendar includes voting on August 14! - and conclude the ONE by ONE conversations.
Here are a few suggestions for low-cost and free activities for students and families over the summer. We hope to see you there!
• Duval County Public Schools offers a wide variety of summer programs, most targeted to help specific students get back on track academically. Find out more at www.duvalschools.org.
• Summer Camps. JaxParks offers a wide array of summer camps, which cost $75 for two weeks. Click here for more information. 
• Summer Camps Part 2. The Jacksonville Children's Commission has a huge listing of summer camps around the city. Click here to go to their website.
• Read! Check out the Jacksonville Public Library's Summer Reading initiative with two different targeted programs, for children birth to 11 years old and teens 12-18. Find out more.
• Volunteer! Consider hosting a ONE by ONE conversation, or volunteering to empower your community this summer. JPEF has opportunities ranging from conversation facilitation to canvassing to election forum staffing. Interested? E-mail volunteer@jaxpef.org for more information.
What are YOUR summer learning plans? Share with us below.
- Deirdre