A summer program many kids DREAM of


There are tons of great charter schools in New York and Connecticut going above and beyond for their students. This means staving off the summer slide, either with an extended year or a robust program to keep their students engaged in these summer months. In our final piece, see how DREAM Charter School helped their students grow in the summer months!

As we approach the end of the summer, we have one last story of an incredible charter school doing great work with their students in the months that many schools are off.

The DREAM Charter School summer program sounds like just that – a dream program for kids of all ages!


DREAM’s founding organization, Harlem RBI, first started as a baseball and softball league 25 years ago, and evolved into a comprehensive program that combines academics and sport to ensure positive outcomes for inner-city youth. One of its main objectives during the summer is to prevent the summer slide. Research shows that many students lose academic gains that they made throughout the school year when the summer months hit.

Yet data shows that students in the school’s summer program do not fall back and to the contrary, DREAM students make progress during the summer months. In 2015, 99.9% of participants maintained or grew their reading levels after the summer.


There are two different programs, one for elementary students and one for middle school students. As an extended-year school model, all DREAM scholars attend summer programs.

DREAM’s elementary school takes part in Harlem RBI’s six-week summer program that starts in July, and focuses on academics, literacy workshops, critical thinking, physical fitness, and teamwork. The first part of the day is spent in the classroom, and in the afternoon, kids get outside to learn and practice social skills, sports, and team-building with college-aged coaches.

The school says that while kids learn baseball-related skills like throwing and pitching, the lessons they learn on the field are deeper - such as resilience and what it means to get back up when you fall down or make a mistake.

On Fridays, students go on educational field trips all around New York City, giving them enrichment opportunities.


The middle school program, called DREAM University, is a four-week program for DREAM’s 150 rising 6th-8th graders, hosted in partnership with Manhattan College. Teachers at DREAM always say with certainty, "Our kids are going to college, and DREAM University is particularly important because it gets kids on to a college campus and gives them the chance to cultivate a strong college-going mindset."

DREAM University focuses on literacy, math and life skills in the morning, while afternoons are reserved for physical activities and sports-based programs – and it’s a lot of fun for the kids. Some of the activities include ultimate frisbee, baseball, basketball and soccer.


One highlight of the summer program happened on July 14, National Summer Learning Day. DREAM celebrated with students and families with a morning of reading activities and celebrations. They even had a visit from the chief of staff for the United States Department of Education.

As we wind down summer, we tip our hats to the dedicated educators at DREAM and all of the schools keeping their students’ brains active and engaged this summer!

Michael Strianese
Jessica is the Communications Director for the Northeast Charter Schools Network. She shares the charter school message and the stories of the real people who are a part of the movement with the press, member schools, parents, and the public.
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On the field and off, this summer program is a dream!
A summer program many kids DREAM of
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