SCHENECTADY — The City School District’s nascent summer enrichment program will host 1,050 students this summer, up from 650 kids last year but still short of meeting demand.
Around 1,400 students applied for positions in the program, said schools Superintendent Larry Spring during a school board meeting Wednesday night. But the district had only planned to boost the program’s enrollment to 850 in its second year.
As a result, school officials found ways to expand the number of classes in the program this summer, opening enough space to accommodate just over 1,000 kids.
District officials set an allotment of spots in the program for each elementary school in the district – the program serves students in kindergarten through sixth-grade – based on enrollment and a school-needs index, which accounts for demographics and academic performance. The spots were then given to students with the highest needs within each school.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say we were a little overwhelmed by the number of applicants,” Spring told the school board. “I think going from 650 to 1,050 is fairly rapid expansion.”
Spring has said the long-term goal is to offer a summer program to all students in the district’s primary grades.
The summer program, which offers students academic and recreational activities with small class sizes for 10 hours a day, kicks off July 9 and will run through Aug. 3. Students get regular swim lessons, as well as refreshers of the previous year’s class work and a kick start to the next year.
Martin Luther King Jr., Pleasant Valley, Paige and Yates elementary schools will host classes for the summer program.
Spring also highlighted the value of offering a place for kids to spend an entire day, freeing their parents from trying to find childcare options or foregoing work to stay home with kids.
“This is not just an academic program,” he said. “We see this as a program to stabilize the community and help families.”