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SAIL Donors Fund over $200,000 to Halt Summer Learning Loss

Huntsville, AL – The North Alabama Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) pilot program that works to reverse summer learning loss debuted May 2017 as a collective impact project made possible by the financial support of community funders. On average, low-income students lose two to three months in reading aptitude and two months of math skills each summer, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. These are cumulative losses resulting in an academic achievement gap of 2.5 to 3 years by

5th grade. A summer program, intentionally focused on a strong academic component, can begin to close that learning gap. In its inaugural year, the North Alabama SAIL pilot program conducted at three sites collectively reported an average 2.3 months of reading gains and an additional 1.1 months of math gains during the summer of 2017. Rather than losing ground, these SAIL students made academic advances instead.

The Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville and The Schools Foundation are excited to announce that the SAIL program is returning and expanding for summer 2018. Following the measurable success of its pilot year and through the generosity of more than 30 local, regional, and statewide funders, SAIL is expanding to six sites.

SAIL program sites for summer 2018 include:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama's STEAM Lit Program, located at J.E. Williams Elementary School/Williams Boys & Girls Club

  • Heart of the Valley YMCA’s BELL Power Scholars Academy and Y Readers Programs, in collaboration with The C.A.R.E. Center, located at Madison County Elementary School

  • Heart of the Valley YMCA’s BELL Power Scholars Academy and Y Readers Programs, in collaboration with The C.A.R.E. Center, located at Owens Cross Roads Elementary School

  • Huntsville City Schools' Bridges to Learning Leadership Academy Program, in collaboration with American Baseball Foundation, located at Providence Elementary School

  • Madison City Schools’ English Learner SAIL Program, in collaboration with Heart of the Valley YMCA, located at Madison Elementary School

  • Village of Promise’s Freedom School, in collaboration with the Children's Defense Fund, located at Sonnie Hereford Elementary School

Working with school systems, educators, program providers, enrichment partners, and funders, SAIL cultivates the whole child in a variety of educational, fun, and success-affirming ways. This program stems the loss of learning over the summer, which is a significant reality especially for low-income students, in a cost-effective method that generates measurable results, creating attainable opportunities for children to grow.

SAIL is made possible through the generous support of the following funders: Marc and Sheryl Bendickson, Dr. & Mrs. Robert Berinato, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boeing, Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville, Daniel Foundation, Dynetics, ERC, Inc., Junior League of Huntsville, Bob and Cindi Ludwig, Mike and Patty Lowe AGAPE Fund, PPG, Jan Smith, #SummitGivesBack Donors, Torch Technologies, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, United Way of Madison County, Vector Wealth Strategies, and multiple anonymous donors.

To learn more about local SAIL programs, please participate in the upcoming SAIL Spotlight Days on June 26 and 28, 2018. For registration information, email Melissa Thompson at, or visit


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