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Should Your Charter School Host a Summer School Program?

Ryan Eldridge

April 28, 2021

Summer school
After a full year of mid-pandemic learning, a major topic among educators is bridging the education and social gap for students. As such, administrators plan to increase summer school in districts and charter schools across the country.

With the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act and the $4.6 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grants in California, school leaders may finally have resources to support struggling students with summer programs.

According to The Washington Post:

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said schools need to be creative and employ a ‘sense of urgency’ to summer programming. ‘The summer learning experiences we’re talking about now really need to be better than they ever were in the past,’ he said in a call with reporters earlier this month. Cardona also said districts will need to work with local community groups and organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America to create additional learning opportunities and experiences for children.”

There’s no question: the need is there. But how do charter schools cover the expense?

While schools have struggled to cover the expense of summer school sources, they may now be able to afford the program thanks to additional National and State funding options. In the American Rescue Plan, Congress set aside $1.2 billion that states, districts, and schools must use to build successful summer programs.

Beyond supporting the student needs and accessing incremental funding, there are long-term benefits for the charter schools that deploy a summer school program.

 While enrollment numbers are down (by about 155,000 students) and hit record lows across the state, parents are putting off their enrollment decisions longer than ever. Summer school provides an incredible opportunity to serve the community, support students, and give an introduction to your school that – done well – will encourage that family to stay with your school long term. While parents would default to the local district school in years past, a summer school program creates the soft entry into your curriculum to show that family and those in their community what alternative options are available to their student.

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