Big Lift Inspiring Summers

UPDATE: Now taking applications for Big Lift Inspiring Summers Learning Facilitator Intern!

San Mateo County Libraries is seeking qualified college students or continuing education professionals seeking a future with your education for the position of Big Lift Inspiring Summers Learning Facilitator Intern. Visit for a full description and to apply. Final filing date May 19, 2021.

​Over a thousand eager students are now ready to tackle the new school year with some extra confidence thanks to an uplifting summer with San Mateo County Libraries and The Big Lift, opens a new window. In partnership with the County of San Mateo, opens a new window, San Mateo County Office of Education, opens a new window, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, opens a new window, BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), opens a new window and seven school districts, our Big Lift Inspiring Summer (BLIS) camps aim to transform early learning and help reverse summer learning loss before the school year. Parent feedback was overwhelmingly positive this past summer, with 93% reporting that their child enjoyed the program, 98% felt safe and comfortable, and 99% would recommend Big Lift Inspiring Summers to other families.

Through the generous support of County Measure K funds, opens a new window, this year we served 1,200 children at 9 school sites throughout the County. Performance results revealed that BLIS scholars showed steady progress in the last two years starting with one month of reading progress in summer 2016 and 1.5 months of reading progress in summer 2017.

Our full day program included a morning literacy program based on a curriculum developed by BELL led by district teachers and an afternoon STEAM enrichment program led by San Mateo County Libraries. Based on the Center for Childhood Creativity, opens a new window at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, opens a new window's CREATE Framework, SMCL's STEAM enrichment curriculum offers engaging activities that are:

  • Child-Directed: Do the children take charge of their own learning, develop planning skills, and have choices?
  • Risk-Friendly: Does the learning community encourage children to take safe risks, try new approaches, and experience small failures to build resilience?
  • Emotionally Attuned: Do the adult leaders pay attention to children’s psychological states and reduce stress?
  • Active: Are there ample opportunities for youth to move around? Can children learn by doing in this setting?
  • Time-Flexible: Does the learning environment allow children to get into a state of “flow”?
  • Exploratory: Are there ample opportunities for investigating and producing in which there is not one correct answer? Is there time for unstructured play?

This past June, SMCL received a "Bright Spot" award for the Big Lift Inspiring Summers program from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, opens a new window. This award highlights communities nation-wide that are providing inspiring and innovative programs for early learning success. We are proud to share these accomplishments with our partner programs and will continue to strive to provide the boost every child needs to succeed.

Catch a glimpse of how our BLIS scholars developed their literacy skills and gained the confidence they need to succeed in school through these fun and engaging activities with this video by San Mateo County.

Inspiring Summers Program

Thanks to the The Big Lift “Inspiring Summers” program, 1,200 children in San Mateo County will have a jump-start on reading and readiness when it's time to go back to school!The program was made possible by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors who committed funding from Measure K, a countywide half-cent sales tax extension for local needs.The Big Lift Inspiring Summers program is a collaborative effort between the County of San Mateo, San Mateo County Libraries, San Mateo County Office of Education, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) and local school districts.

Posted by County of San Mateo - Government on Wednesday, July 25, 2018