Greenville County, SC Summer Learning Program, Make Summer Count 2016, Wins Award for Excellence

Jonathan Dunagin, Public Education Partners, (864) 365-0079,
Stephanie Agresti, Scholastic, 212-343-7819,

Summer Reading Program from Public Education Partners, in partnership with Greenville County Schools and Scholastic Inc., Wins the Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence for Demonstrating Successful Strategies to Help Prevent Summer Learning Loss

Key Summer Learning Strategies Include Increased Access to Books and Family Engagement Activities

Columbia, SC – October 26, 2017 – This week, the nonprofit Public Education Partners (PEP), in partnership with Greenville County Schools (GCS) and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, received the Dick and Tunky Riley WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence for Make Summer Count 2016, a summer reading initiative in GCS supporting 18,000 students in grades K–5, across 29 higher-needs elementary schools. The annual award is given to an innovative education initiative improving the lives of students in South Carolina. Dick Riley, former two-term Governor of South Carolina and United States Secretary of Education, presented the award on behalf of the Riley Institute at Furman University and South Carolina Future Minds.

The summer loss of academic skills commonly experienced by students throughout the country is responsible for as much as 85% of the reading achievement gap between lower- and higher-income children. Make Summer Count aims to maintain or increase students’ literacy skills by increasing access to books as well as engaging families to support their children’s learning. During the 2016 program year, participating students received 11 books to take home for summer reading, and 23 Family Reading Night events were hosted. In April 2017, PEP and the Scholastic Research & Validation team published the positive results of a research study on the program, which revealed:

  • A majority of students avoided the summer loss in literacy skills
  • Students read more books over the summer than the national average and reported increased reading stamina and confidence
  • The program’s high value to participating families

To learn more about the Make Summer Count 2016 research study, visit:

“We are so honored at Public Education Partners to be recognized for Make Summer Count, showing just how far public-private partnerships can go in supporting students and their families,” said Dr. W. Ansel Sanders, President & CEO, Public Education Partners. “The program has given thousands of Greenville County elementary school students the opportunity to continue learning year-round by knocking down barriers. While we celebrate the success that the program has had thus far, there is so much more work to be done. We will use the momentum as well as the funds provided by the WhatWorksSC Award for Excellence to support even more students and families across Greenville.”

“Public Education Partners and Greenville County Schools deserve this powerful recognition as a model and inspiration for other districts striving to support students over the summer,” said Michael Haggen, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic Education. “The overwhelmingly positive results of Make Summer Count show that when communities and schools join forces to bolster the confidence of students and their families, and provide access to the resources that they need, children can remain engaged in learning all year long, reaching their full potential.”

A committee of corporate leaders and education experts selected finalists for the award using a rigorous scoring process that takes into consideration program research and evaluation, maximization of resources and sustainability. Finalists enter through the WhatWorksSC Clearinghouse, which showcases initiatives that explore and exemplify key strategies for improving South Carolina’s public schools. Make Summer Count was joined by the Innovate! program at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School in Greenville County and Camp iRock in Pickens County as 2017 finalists.

Click the image below to open a hi-res version in a new window


About Public Education Partners:
Public Education Partners (PEP) collaborates with community partners to introduce innovative programming in schools and deepen connections between schools and the community in an effort to strengthen public education and student achievement in Greenville, South Carolina. PEP is Greenville’s only independent nonprofit solely dedicated to investing in and improving public education. For more information, visit

For more information about Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), visit the Company’s online media room at