U-46 rolls out new summer school programs
In an effort to make up for pandemic learning loss, Elgin Area School District U-46 is providing a variety of summer enrichment programs this year offering students extended academic, physical fitness, outdoor, artistic, and other experiences.
Typically, summer school is about credit recovery and making up for failing grades. But the district's response this year is heightened because many students struggled with distance learning and social isolation for much of the school year.
For the first time, the district invited community organizations to submit proposals for in-person summer programs that would provide fun, innovative enrichment and recreational activities for elementary students. Also new this summer are programs to help incoming seventh- through 12th-graders prepare for the school year ahead.
On Monday, the U-46 board awarded more than $1.1 million to eight community organizations to provide half- or full-day programs that meet the criteria. All programs are free to district families, and costs will be covered through federal COVID relief funds. Programs will be offered through local park districts, arts, and childcare and children's organizations, officials said.
(Summer programming) looks very different from what we have been offering in years past," said Suzanne Johnson, deputy superintendent of instruction.
Groups providing summer services include Three Fires Council ($378,000), Golden Corridor YMCA ($233,100), the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin ($214,200), the city of Elgin ($147,735), and the Streamwood Park District ($53,550).
Programs for elementary students include: environmental education and connecting youth with nature; exploring STEM, STEAM, visual and performing arts, and leadership curriculum; building self-esteem and self-efficacy; and promoting cross-cultural experiences and active living.
Students with special needs will have extended learning through traditional summer school offered each year. Elementary students who need additional academic support can join in-person summer classes focused on reading and math.
Middle and high school students can access credit-recovery classes and can participate in three new voluntary camps to help prepare for the year ahead. Registration for those programs is open through May 6.
"We anticipate that we'll be able to serve at least 2,000 more students this year through our expanded summer programming," spokeswoman Mary Fergus said, adding that the district has the capacity to serve up to 11,000 additional students in its middle and high school camps.
The "Middle School Experience" and "Freshman Connection" are voluntary four-day programs for all incoming seventh- through ninth-graders hosted at each of the district's eight middle schools and five high schools, respectively.
Both programs will incorporate community and team-building activities aligned to social-emotional learning standards and help students get familiarized with their teachers, peers, schools and class schedules. Students will participate in activities promoting critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication.
"College Jumpstart" is a three-day voluntary program for incoming seniors. It will help students develop a college and career plan, explore study options, and prep for the application process.
For more information, visit u-46.org/summerschool.