Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Stimulus: School's in for Summer; GRADES 1-12 Five New Academies Will Be Organized to Help Students with Reading and Math

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Economic Stimulus: School's in for Summer; GRADES 1-12 Five New Academies Will Be Organized to Help Students with Reading and Math

Article excerpt

Byline: JOSH SALMAN

The Duval County school system is using its slice of the economic stimulus package to greatly expand its summer school programs.

The school district will about double the number of regular summer classes and will offer five new academies geared to strengthen reading and math for students in grades 1 to 12 at under-preforming schools.

The district will spend about $3 million over the next two years for its summer program, most of which will come from federal stimulus money, spokeswoman Jill Johnson said. The exact amount will be based in part on attendance and won't be known until after school begins.

"This funding allows us to provide assistance to students who may need to recover a course, as well as offer additional enrichment opportunities for students to excel in the next grade level," Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals said in a statement.

The programs will be free to students attending schools that have either received an F on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or where performance has dropped dramatically in one or more targeted areas.

Middle and high schools students will also be able to make up a one-credit course from a previous year, said Kathryn LeRoy, the district's chief officer in academic services.

"Many times, children lose their gains in reading and math during the summer, especially in the urban core," LeRoy said. "We want to make sure our children maintain these levels."

Each of the five summer academies will be at different locations, with either four- or six-week durations. The academies are scheduled from June 22 through July 31.

All of the teachers have received additional development training, and the programs will be monitored throughout the summer to test their effectiveness, LeRoy said.

Free bus transportation also will be provided to middle and high school students who live more than 2 miles from their school.

"All of the children now have an opportunity to go to summer school with us," LeRoy said. …

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