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Catching Up, Forging Ahead: PLA to Combat COVID-19 Learning Loss through Free Summer Learning Program

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has disrupted education for millions of students in the United States and may cause significant learning loss across our country. Educators around the globe continue to adapt teaching methods to meet the needs of students in what has proven to be one of the most challenging times in education history. 

With summer just around the corner, PLA is preparing to combat potential learning losses and help scholars make significant gains to prepare them for the 2021-22 school year through the nationally recognized summer learning program, Summer Advantage. 

“Research shows that without support, children lose a significant amount of academic progress in reading, writing, and math skills during the summer. This year we have an even greater task to not only prevent the summer slide, but bridge the gap that has been widened by COVID-19,” said PLA Founder & CEO, Earl Martin Phalen. “We plan to accomplish that through Summer Advantage.”

This year, PLA will bring Summer Advantage USA to all of its school partner sites, providing free summer enrichment to thousands of scholars in low-income communities across the country. Historically, scholars who participate in Summer Advantage grow at least one month of skills during the program.

“We have a goal to support our partner schools in improving education outcomes,”  said Chief Academic Officer, Andrea Robinson. “Summer Advantage will give our scholars additional support in catching up and help keep PLA schools on track with their goal to rise in proficiency and overall academic achievement.”

Summer Advantage, not to be confused with summer school,  offers rigorous, research-based academic instruction and a wide variety of hands-on enrichment classes for students to enjoy throughout the summer. Participants receive two healthy meals a day, daily recreation, and an exciting environment where they can flourish academically and build confidence as leaders.

In addition, scholars participate in field trips every Friday, college campus visits, and scholar-led community service projects and hear from inspirational celebrity guest speakers Through innovative learning experiences, scholars gain confidence that supports their success when they return to school in the fall. To learn more about Summer Advantage, visit


Phalen Leadership Academies and Summer Advantage USA