Act 66: Deadline comes for Pa. students to apply to repeat school year

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The deadline is Thursday for Pennsylvania students to apply to repeat this past school year through Act 66.

All Pennsylvania Kindergarten through 12th grade students are eligible, even if they meet the requirements to move on to their next grade level.

This has been a school year like no other.

Kimberly Browne is rising to third grade. She attends Samuel Gompers Elementary School's summer program in person now, but says virtual school this past year was hard.

"It was very difficult when I was on my computer," Browne said.

She added, "I had to sit in a big corner charging my computer, and I don't like big corners."

Last month, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill, Act 66, which allows students enrolled during the 2020-21 school year to repeat their grade level to make up for education gaps from the pandemic.

"They can return that form at the school district headquarters, or they can fill the form out and text it in, email it in, to the information that we have on our website," said Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

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Students with disabilities who turned 21 during the 2020-21 school year also have the opportunity to repeat a grade.

Some parents see the merits but believe many kids are in the same position.

"The year off, I think it kind of messed up all the kids because they got so used to being in the house," said Gompers parent Sierra Forest. "I do think that it's a good idea for the people that need it; for children that need it, it's a good option."

Some parents explain they took extra measures on their own and took advantage of summer learning opportunities, concerned about learning loss.

"The kids were easily distracted with the online, it was like their focus wasn't there. So you kind of had to really take things into your own hands; so that's why I sent her to the summer program so that she can still continue that learning, as well to prepare her for August," said parent Crystal Greer of Wynnefield.

The state said families who miss the deadline should contact their child's school to discuss options based on the school's policies and procedures.
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