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The Community Foundation and The Schools Foundation Help Students SAIL into a Brighter Future by Curtailing Summer Learning Loss

The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County and The Schools Foundation are excited to bring a key initiative to Madison County, Alabama this summer. Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) is a collective impact project that works to reverse summer learning loss, which is a significant reality, especially for low-income students. SAIL organizers and partners held a news conference Tuesday, March 28 at 10 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville-Madison County Auditorium (225 Church Street in downtown Huntsville). This marked the kickoff of the program’s initiative and outlined plans on what’s ahead and how students can participate.

On average, low-income students lose two to three months in reading aptitude each summer, while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Most youth lose roughly two months of math skills. These are cumulative losses. Established SAIL programs show participation in an effective summer learning program can reverse learning loss and yield learning gains, sometimes even benefiting the child for at least two years after the program. Participants also accumulate new interests and skills that can positively shape their future. SAIL programs adhere to a Quality Assurance Framework where results are measured and reported in a standardized format.

In conjunction with Heart of the Valley YMCA, Madison City Schools, and Village of Promise, the North Alabama SAIL pilot program will help low-income students and families impacted by this seasonal learning loss, creating attainable opportunities for children to grow.

SAIL pilot program sites for summer 2017 include the following:

  • 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
  • Madison City School’s English Learner SAIL Program, in collaboration with Better Basics, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Athens State University, located at Madison Elementary School
  • Village of Promise’s Freedom School, in collaboration with Huntsville City Schools, located at Highlands Elementary School

The North Alabama SAIL pilot program would not be possible without the financial and volunteer support of the following funders: Dr. & Mrs. Robert Berinato, Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison Co., Daniel Foundation of Alabama, ERC, Inc., The Junior League of Huntsville, Bob & Cindi Ludwig, PPG, Jan Smith, Torch Technologies, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, United Way of Madison County, and Vector Wealth Strategies.

For more information on the local SAIL efforts, please visit

SAIL History
The SAIL program was developed in Birmingham, Alabama in response to a survey of 37 Birmingham-area summer programs, conducted by the National Summer Learning Association in 2011. In the summer of 2012, a group of six Birmingham funders collaborated to launch the initial pilot projects of SAIL in their communities. In 2016, this group grew to more than 10 funders supporting nearly 40 SAIL programs in central Alabama.

Madison City Schools Program PartnersVOP Check PresentationHeart of the Valley YMCA Program Partners