Updated: April 01, 2021 06:56 PM
Created: April 01, 2021 06:17 PM
Green grass and dandelions are sure signs summer is around the corner.
For Yolanda Lewis and her four children who have all been learning from home this year, it also means summer school.
"I want to consider it for all of my children because I’d like for them to get back to some sense of normal life, and for me, that means interacting with their peers in person," Lewis said.
School districts around the state are preparing for more students this summer because of pandemic learning.
"I would anticipate that we will likely have a couple hundred more students this summer than we typically have," ISD 728 Superintendant Daniel Bittman said.
Elk River area schools will offer shorter, three-week classes and credit retrieval courses as well.
"If there are students who have not been successful and who have missed credits at the secondary level we want to provide some sort of boot camp opportunity for kids," he said.
In Minneapolis, the district is focusing heavily on its youngest learners, adding three times the staff to teach more students.
"In a typical summer we would normally have about 300 of those pre-K students, and this year our goal is 1,000," said Daren Johnson, director of extended learning with Minneapolis Public Schools.
Johnson says there's more focus on creativity and fun with some of the courses.
"They might be repairing a bike because in their class they’re going to be learning how to ride their bike and pedal around their community," Johnson said.
The district is planning for an additional $2 million in federal funds to help with summer academics on top of the $4 million for typical K-12 programming.
So far Minneapolis has about 90% of the staffing positions filled for summer, crucial positions that districts knew might be more difficult to fill this summer.
"Our staff is tired, but we do have staff again who are very excited about it and appreciate that special connection during a summer school," Bittman said.
For Lewis, it's a return to what is known.
"I feel that summer school would be a really great way for them to get integrated again, and just get back to some normal sense of school so that when fall comes it’s not as difficult," Lewis said.
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