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New York City Revamps Summer School

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Summer school is changing in New York City.

The nation's largest school district has announced a new program called Summer in the City for grades 2-12, which will serve more than 150,000 students.

The $66 million program will include lots of opportunities for hands-on learning, as well as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, instruction, and visits to some of the city's most well-known cultural institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Summer in the City will also provide college-level instruction for some high school students as well as engagement activities for parents.

In a press release, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, said the program was designed to directly address what's known as the "summer slide," learning loss that occurs over the summer, especially among low-income students who don't have access to expensive summer camps or other educational experiences. "We're committed to equity and excellence for all our children, and students need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills—especially in the summer months," Fariña states.

Students at risk of failing will be exposed to what the district describes as "innovative, research-based literacy, math, and STEM curricula" through such tools as Math Navigator and LitCamp. 

In a trend that's becoming more widespread, the program will serve students who must complete summer school to be promoted as well as students who are not mandated to attend.

Katie Brackenridge is the senior director for expanded learning initiatives with the Partnership for Children and Youth in Oakland, Calif.

She says this type of program is really the wave of the future.

"Attendance is much higher when kids are engaged in what the program is teaching, and that alone has a much bigger effect on kids than obviously programming where kids don't want to attend and aren't engaged while they're there," said Brackenridge.

 New York City is one of 32 school districts around the country participating in the New Vision for Summer School Network, which among other things calls for an expanded scope for summer school.

 Summer in the City will run from July 7-August 11.

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