DETROIT (WWJ) – Only about 50 percent of public school students in Detroit can look forward to the summer off. Detroit Public Schools’ six-week Summer School Academy, which has enrolled 36,844 students, begins Tuesday.
While visiting Detroit’s Ronald Brown Academy, WWJ’s Ron Dewey spoke with DPS Emergency Manager Roy Roberts.
“Any time we can have a longer school day or a longer school year and get kids into the academics for a longer period of time, the kids win,” Roberts said.
“That’s what we want. We want them to win. We want them to receive a good education, and that’s critical to us in this district,” he said.
But, with so many kids enrolled for the summer, will some question what happened during the regular school year? Roberts said he’s not looking at it that way.
“We’re not going to be concerned about that. We’re going to be concerned about doing the best we can throughout the year. And, if we can enhance that education going forward, we’re going to continue to do that,” he said.
“What we have to do is what’s right for the kids, and let the other stuff just roll off our back like water off a duck,” Roberts said.
School officials say the summer academy is part of the district’s mission to raise academic achievement among struggling students, in conjunction with a more rigorous curriculum under the district’s five-year academic plan that was implemented in the fall.
While there is no cost to Title I eligible District students or their families, Non-Title I students pay $250 for the summer, non-district elementary and middle school students pay $500 for the summer and non-district high school students pay $250 per class and can take up to three classes.
The program, which lasts from Tuesday, June 21 to Friday, July 29, is expected to employ 2,035 teachers and 510 support staff, including counselors, aides, clerical staff, as well as administrators..
The curricula for grades K-6 will be literacy and mathematics. For grades 7-8, the focus will be on project-based instruction in pre-algebra concepts, while literacy will be taught through novel-based instruction. At the high school level, students will be able to make up core academic courses in which they were not successful. For special education students and English Language Learners, instructional opportunities will be offered for students who must take the MEAP assessments.
Roberts said the summer period is basically an extension of the school year.
“The parents have really caught on, and they know the importance of it. And the students have caught on, and know the importance of it. So, we’re so glad that it’s happening,” he said.
Due to the accelerated nature of the summer program, students are not permitted to miss more than three days of class.
Last year, 38,717 DPS students were enrolled in the Summer Academy, a 22 percent increase over enrollment in the 2009 summer program.