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New summer ed program designed to help kids catch up after pandemic

It’s not just for failing students; recreation also included

April 14, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter on Tuesday announced Summer Rising, the city’s free summer education plan for any child in grades K-12 who wants to participate.

The plan is designed to bring kids up to speed for the fall term after the coronavirus pandemic, with its frequent interruptions and reliance on online learning, Surveys reveal kids themselves didn’t feel remote learning was an adequate substitute for in-person learning.

Unlike the “summer schools” of old, which were designed for students who had failed during the school year, Summer Rising will be available to all students. It will include field trips, fun and recreation as well as academics. For high school students, it will also provide opportunities for summer jobs.

The program will integrate the Department of Education’s academic supports and the Department of Youth and Community Development’s school-based enrichment programming to create a comprehensive summer program during what has been described as the most critical summer for New York City students, the Department of Education said.

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Last month, in the Washington Post, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg called for such a program, saying that “the evidence that remote learning has been disastrous for children, especially those from low-income families, could not be clearer. Students have effectively missed a year of school, and many were already far behind to begin with.”

Applications for in-person K-8 programs will open on Monday, April 26, and families can sign up through the Department of Youth and Community Development website. Summer locations will be available in every borough, and almost half of all public school buildings will be used.

All K-8 students participating in programs will have access to academic classes, enrichment programming including field trips, arts activities and outdoor recreation and will also engage in daily social emotional learning activities.

Kindergarten and elementary school students will participate in a five-day a week program for seven weeks, providing critical childcare services for families as parents return to the workplace, according to the Department of Education.

Middle school students will participate in a four-day-a-week program for six weeks, and high school students will participate in a five-week program with tailored scheduling to meet their needs. In addition, high school students will have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Youth Employment Program and participate in the Public School Athletic League. During the summer, the PSAL host tournaments in baseball, tennis, handball and track.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, endorsing the Summer Rising program, said in a statement:

“Thousands of young people across our city were forced to adjust to a new, remote reality overnight due to the pandemic, and many without the proper resources — such as remote devices or reliable Wi-Fi connection — have fallen behind their peers. As the summer rapidly approaches, it’s clear we need proactive strategies to ensure our students do not fall further behind. Child development experts have long warned about how the ‘summer slide’ has pernicious and disproportionate impacts on our students, and the urgency of making up that gap has only been underscored during the pandemic.”

Brooklyn Councilmember Mark Treyger, chair of the council’s Committee on Education, said, “Our children deserve summer programs that meet the needs of all students and that are centered on providing children and their families with wraparound support services including social and emotional supports and childcare, coupled with fun, active learning instruction emphasizing the arts, music, recreation and field trips.”

According to the Department of Education, students who have failed courses and are mandated to attend will participate together with those who have enrolled voluntarily.

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