AllentownSchool District

ASD Joins Community Partners to Launch Summer Start Program

ASD Joins Community Partners to Launch Summer Start Program
Posted on 03/20/2019

Community Services for Children (CSC) is pleased to announce it will be expanding educational programming this summer at the Learning Hub – City Center thanks to the generous commitment of Air Products to the children and families in our community. Summer Start is a partnership between CSC and WLVT/PBS39 (PBS39) to provide summer education services to young children and their parents, in cooperation with the Allentown School District, beginning July 2019.

In the City of Allentown, nearly two-thirds of the most vulnerable young children do without a high-quality early childhood education, and less than half enter kindergarten ready to learn. For those who start behind, many remain behind, or lose the critical gains made due to the “summer slide.” The Summer Start project will provide an intense literacy-focused high-quality Kindergarten readiness program to children who have done without P-K and for those kindergarten-aged children who have not yet achieved proficiency in order to ensure future academic success. The program also supports the Valley-wide literacy campaign, Lehigh Valley Reads, an effort to ensure all Lehigh Valley students read on grade level by the end of third grade, by 2025. By providing Summer Start, we can ensure that children continue to thrive even when school is out!

“Air Products is honored to partner with PBS, City Center, and Community Services for Children to support this innovative summer program for children,” said Laurie Hackett of Air Products. “When we all come together to help kids read and learn, so many great things can happen!”

Superintendent of the Allentown School District Thomas Parker expressed his support for the new program during the Wednesday press conference. He also noted that students who currently attend classes at the City Center Learning Hub location will likely funnel directly into Central Elementary. Kindergarten registration for Fall 2019 is already open - parents can visit their neighborhood elementary school for more information or download the enrollment packet from the ASD website.

Summer Start is a further expansion of the shared vision of The Learning Hub, a unique public/private collaboration between City Center Corporation and Community Services for Children to create a vibrant learning center focused on high-quality, innovative early childhood education and family engagement. In the fall, City Center provided leadership and nearly $1.3 million in design and construction costs for the renovation of the 14,916-square-foot space, and along with Community Services for Children‘s Head Start program, convened community partners to provide education services to ensure school readiness and success. During the school year, 110 children and their families have had the benefit of the Head Start program, supported by many community partners to provide early education that supports the development of children’s 21st Century Skills. Community partners currently providing services to The Learning Hub program include the Allentown Art Museum, Baum School of Art, Cops and Kids, CACLV, Da Vinci Science Center, The Literacy Center, Lehigh University, Emmaus Public Library, and the Music Play Patrol. The additional month-long Summer Start literacy program will build upon the current school year operations and provide a strong foundation for the development of early language and literacy, necessary social and interpersonal skills, and ultimately ensure that every child will have the opportunity for success in grade-level reading. Summer Start will be operated by Community Services for Children, PBS, and Allentown School District. The program will provide books for children in the classroom, educational off-site experiences, parent development, and resources, all through an evidence-based curriculum aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards. Children will develop a foundation focused on the five key areas of language and literacy development including alphabet and book knowledge, print concepts, vocabulary development, and phonological awareness. PBS will be contributing multi-platform content collections that meet young children where they are, anytime, and in various ways. These experiences will integrate personalized and adaptive learning experiences to create opportunities that meet children’s individual learning needs and interests.


Community Services for Children is a regional leader in early childhood education, and family services affecting the lives of 40,000 children annually. CSC’s Head Start/Early Head Start of the Lehigh Valley program is recognized as a national center of excellence and innovation.

Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a world-leading industrial gases company in operation for over 75 years. The Company provides industrial gases and related equipment to dozens of industries, including refining, chemical, metals, electronics, manufacturing, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment.