Thousands of students in Philadelphia begin expanded summer school program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The city and the School District of Philadelphia are partnering to offer an expanded summer learning program to help prepare thousands of students for the fall.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and school district leaders spoke Monday at William Hunter Elementary in Kensington. They said students will now have the time to catch up after being out of the classroom during much of the pandemic.

"As an educator, as a grandparent, I know how important it is for our young people to have access to programs like these over the summer," said Superintendent Dr. William Hite.

It was a tough year academically and socially. The goal is to help students grow in both areas through personalized attention.

"The summer will be filled with enrichment activities like arts, sports throughout the week and a full-day summer camp experience," Deputy Mayor Cynthia Figueroa said.

District leaders said what makes this different than traditional summer school is that for the first time, students will receive academic courses on top of the summer camp activities.

The School District of Philadelphia's Summer Academic Program is working in partnership with the City of Philadelphia's Office of Children and Families and its network of out-of-school time providers.

"Normally over the summer we serve about 4,000, 5,000 students," said Ali Robinson-Rogers, the executive director of the Office of Postsecondary Readiness.

But now, roughly 15,000 students are registered for the expanded programs at 26 locations, officials said.

The hope is that they'll be ready to go when all Philadelphia students return to the classroom in the fall.

Officials said the deadline has passed for academic courses, but school district leaders want parents to know it's still possible to sign up for summer camp activities provided by the city.
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