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San Diego school districts expand summer school programs

San Diego Unified schools on Minimum Day schedule for 3rd straight day due to excessive heat
Posted at 3:40 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 18:40:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Thousands of students went back to the classroom this week, and plans are already in motion for summer school. Summer programs are expected to give students a chance to catch up after falling behind the past year.

The San Diego Unified School District says between 5-10% of their students are failing every class. They credit that learning loss to struggles with distance and hybrid platforms throughout the pandemic. They’re hoping to fix that this summer.

“We see the summer as the beginning of our efforts to get students back on track,” said San Diego Unified School District Board President Richard Barrera. He says the summer program that usually reserved for high schoolers will be fully revamped to address the needs of all students.

Programs will consist of:

  • Four weeks for elementary and middle school
  • Three weeks for high school
  • Morning learning and afternoon activities
  • Students can either makeup credits or take classes to get ahead

A $5 million dollar partnership with the San Diego Foundation will help fund a range of afternoon programs to keep students engaged.

“Swim camps, arts and music, science camps, internships for HS students,” said Barrera.

While there are options for every age, he says just a few short weeks of summer school simply won’t be enough.

“This process of helping students recover from what they’ve been through for the past 13 months will be ongoing,” said Barrera. “That work is going to have to go on throughout the entire school year next year as well.”

In El Cajon, the Cajon Valley Union School District received national recognition for pioneering what learning looks like in a pandemic early on. They reopened their classrooms while other districts remained closed. This summer they’re launching “Camp Cajon.”

“We want to emphasize the use of outdoor recreation, enrichment, field trips, giving students opportunities that they have missed out on,” said Assistant Superintendent Karen Minshew.

She added they’re focusing on both academics and enrichment for their K-8 students with two three-week sessions.

They’ve partnered with local soccer clubs and Parks & Rec. to bring sports and art programs directly to their campuses.

“We can be engaged, ready to learn, be better prepared for next year, but this is a long-term plan,” said Minshew. “It has to be based on growth, positivity, and all the amazing strengths and gifts of our students.”

Both San Diego Unified and Cajon Valley plan to start their summer programs in late June.