INDIANAPOLIS – Data shows a summer program created to help students with pandemic learning loss is making a difference.

In its second year, it’s almost doubled in size. In 2021, the Summer Learning Labs served 3,000 first through ninth-graders. This year, that number is close to 6,000.

It’s a program that organizers say is meeting kids where they are before they get back to school in the fall.

It may be July, but the classrooms inside the LeGore Boys and Girls Club are busy learning. For soon to be fifth-grader, Madison, she looks forward to starting her day by reading, writing, and practicing her math skills.

“It keeps your mind going while you’re out on summer, so when you get back to school you don’t have the difficulty, doing your learning,” said Madison Reid.

It’s part of Indy’s Summer Learning Labs, a partnership with The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana. There are 40 locations across the city.

“We’re at Boys & Girls Clubs, churches, community centers, schools – we’re all over the place,” said Dani Neal, the project director for the learning labs.

Kim Dehoney-Barnett, the unit director of the LeGore Unit added, “It’s essentially like summer school, we have actual licensed teachers in each room, and each room has a teacher’s aid, too.”

Along with the classroom instruction, there’s plenty of play time in this five-week program. That’s five weeks of additional learning to either get back on track or ahead of the game.

“They do a pre-testing at the beginning, and they do a post-test at the end,” explained Dehoney-Barnett.

According to a report completed last year on the program, there was a 20 percent increase in English and language arts performance, plus a 27 percent increase in math. As the summer winds down, the jury is still out for next year’s plans because the program is funded by the state through pandemic funds.

“We see the need for it, we know this program works and we want it to be back for another year, for multiple years, but really it’ll come down to funding and making sure we have the resources we need to serve,” said Neal.

While the summer learning labs program is wrapping up for this year, the Boys and Girls Club wants parents to reach out! At the LeGore Unit, enrollment will open for after school registration the last week of July. You can click here for more information.