WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thousands of students will be invited to Palm Beach County summer school programs this summer, with a program expansion to focus on students falling behind because of COVID-19 and the so-called "COVID slide."
The district is investing an additional $10 million to the summer school programs, on top of the $6 million already allocated each year.
Parents will find out soon, if not already, whether their child is identified to participate in a summer school program. School district leaders say they usually get about 30% of students participating, but there are a lot more invited this year.
District leaders presented the plan to school board members on Wednesday, highlighting new programs being added as well as the typically offered programs that will continue. They describe them as well-rounded programs that include social-emotional learning.
The district will provide bus transportation and free breakfast and lunch to all students.
Summer school will start a week after the school year ends, and run from June 28-July 22, face to face.
Thousands of students will qualify for new summer opportunities, including more than 6,000 for an academy for incoming first through third graders, and an academy for more than 3,000 rising middle school students.
"We have identified these students," Dr. Glenda Sheffield, chief academic officer, said. "We'll be reaching out to families, contacting families and trying to get them to participate and understand the intended purpose, what is our goal."
In a survey of more than 2,000 teachers, close to half said they would be willing to work over the summer. Deputy Superintendent Keith Oswald said he understands teachers need and want a break over the summer, but he believes they'll be able to staff summer school based on the response they received.
"We're confident that with what we are presenting to you today that we will be able to staff that," he told board members. "It will be tight, special education programs and others are a priority as well, but with the teachers that have expressed interest, we are confident we'll be able to do that."