DCPS launches expanded summer program to tackle COVID-19 learning loss

District taking applications now for ‘Summer Rise’ program which will emphasize ‘screen-free’ learning

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As one of the most difficult school years in recent memory enters its final few weeks, Duval County Public Schools aims to compensate for the learning that was lost due to the quarantines, distance learning and distraction of COVID-19.

The district is now taking applications for its “Summer Rise” program, the most expansive curriculum to be offered outside the normal school year.

The registration deadline for both elementary and middle school students to take part in the Summer Rise Program is May 7.

“This will be the first time in a long time that we’re offering a full-day program for the summer for our students,” DCPS Elementary Region Superintendent Marianne Simon said. “Our goal is to start looking at the curriculum for the next school year and see how we can fill some gaps before August comes to us.”

While 3rd-grade reading is typically the focus during summer, Summer Rise will be open to first-through-ninth graders and broaden the curriculum to cover math, science and even art in addition to reading.

“Math is showing a definite decline on this school year,” Simon said. “We attribute that to the learning loss because math kind of builds on itself, and so when you miss a piece of that, it’s very difficult to then catch up.”

Another major difference for the Summer Rise Program is a hard pivot from any virtual learning.

“We’re going to try to do as little technology as possible because our students have been in front of their computers for a very long time,” Simon said. “So, we’re going to try to do a screen-free summer.”

With so many more subjects being covered and more grade levels being serviced, Simon said the district will need to recruit a lot of additional teachers for the Summer Rise program. The expanded program is being funded through the CARES Act.

“So, we’re a little worried, because we know our teachers and our staff are very tired as well,” Simon said. “It’s been a very long, hard year, but we do know that they want to help the students and earn that extra money. So, we do hope we’re able to staff everything appropriately.”

The district will begin recruiting summer teachers in the next few weeks.

Elementary school students

The district is offering the program at 21 sites for elementary students, with 225 spots at each site.

Of the 4,725 spots available, Simon said about 4,000 have already been filled as of Thursday morning.

A list of the sites where the Summer Rise Program is being hosted for elementary students can be viewed by following this link.

Parents can register their children for the program by following this link.

Middle school students

There will be 11 sites hosting the Summer Rise program for middle school students, with 225 spots at each site.

Simon said about 1,000 of the 2,475 seats have been filled as of Thursday morning.

A full list of the sites hosting middle school students for the program can be viewed by following this link.

Registration for middle school students is available at this link.

More information about other DCPS summer programs can be found on the district’s website.

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