The problem

Systemic barriers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to unprecedented learning loss among K-8 students across the U.S. The long-term consequences of this are most dire for children from low-income households and marginalized communities. McKinsey & Company estimates that Black and brown students may lose 15-18% of their lifetime earning potential as a direct result of the pandemic. Our education system needs to act now to prevent further widening of the achievement gap for an entire generation.

Our solution

That is why Springboard Collaborative (Springboard) and Cadence Learning (Cadence) are teaming up this summer to provide a holistic, scalable learning recovery solution for 50,000 K-8 students across the nation. 

Springboard will continue to build a solid literacy foundation for PreK- through 2nd-grade students by coaching teachers to deliver high-quality instruction and training parents as literacy coaches, while Cadence will equip teachers with strategies and curricula to lead effective math and literature lessons (supplemented by SEL and enrichment activities) for 3rd- through 8th-grade students. With our combined expertise and shared success with train-the-trainer models, we are confident that this partnership will drastically increase transformative learning experiences – both at home and in the classroom – to help students not only avoid regression but instead make significant academic gains.

Aligned approaches

Both Springboard and Cadence emphasize strong coaching and mentorship for teachers complemented by turnkey curricula. By working in tandem, we can serve students along the entire K-8 continuum, giving districts a one-stop solution to learning recovery this summer.

Springboard’s program offerings – designed for early elementary students – are centered on the Family-Educator Learning Accelerator (FELA) method, which consists of equal parts literacy instruction, teacher development, and family engagement. One summer cycle comprises four to six weeks during which stakeholders (i.e., family members and teachers) foster relational trust through training and team-building huddles; identify reading growth goals; establish an individualized action plan; practice with the student (through family workshops, at home, and at school); and celebrate growth with incentives.

Cadence collaborates with districts and charters to provide an intensive five-week summer program for students in 3rd-8th grade. In their one-to-many model, expert, award-winning “mentor teachers” reach thousands of teachers and students nationally, while local “partner” teachers create an intimate community where their students feel heard, valued, and successful. Although the model has evolved, the basics have stayed the same – every day, partner teachers receive teaching resources from their mentor, including an in-depth lesson plan, presentation slides, student-facing materials, and a complete video of their mentor teacher teaching to real students the same lesson they’re about to deliver. Partner teachers can either adopt best practices gleaned from these resources or share them directly with students.

Collective experience

In the last year, both partners have successfully implemented innovative virtual programs aimed at building the capacity of educators – both formal and informal – to mitigate learning loss.

Despite challenges posed by the digital divide, Springboard served 10,000+ students virtually in summer 2020, and annual family workshop attendance averaged >85%. A comparative analysis of pre- and post-pandemic i-Ready literacy scores revealed that 2020 participants averaged an astonishing 256-point gain, relative to a control group that grew just 41 points. The fact that the treatment group made more than six times the progress of the control group is a testament to the power of the FELA method. When parents and teachers work together, they can turn the COVID slide into a springboard! 

Cadence Learning – formerly the National Summer School Initiative (NSSI) – was launched by a group of concerned educators in spring 2020 in response to the nationwide abrupt transition to online learning. Cadence brought together 53 organizations in 18 states and enrolled 12,000 students in their inaugural summer program. In an independent evaluation, Harvard and University of Virginia researchers found that large majorities of partner teachers agreed that students improved their academic skills (82%), gained confidence in their academic abilities (83%), and became more interested in school and learning (72%) as a result of Cadence’s programming.

How to engage in partnerships

Districts seeking a dynamic and accessible K-8 summer solution via a dual partnership with Springboard and Cadence should contact Jeff Feinman ( or 415-269-0162), Springboard’s VP of Partnerships, for a consultation.