TUCSON, Arizona – Summer school is in full swing in many districts and, as you can imagine, summer school registrations are on the rise. Taja Davis of KGUN9 gathered numbers from several school districts in the area to compare their enrollments from previous years.
Summer schools are registering never-before-seen numbers in the year following the peak of the pandemic, when schools historically closed and changed course.
Sunnyside Unified has more than 3,500 registered, while only 1,200 participated in the summer before the pandemic.
Flowing Wells Unified has more than doubled: 2,500 registered now, only 1,200 registered in 2019.
Tanque Verde Unified and Vail have lower numbers, but growing nonetheless. For districts like Vail, this is the first time summer school has been offered to non-high school students.
KGUN9 met with Marana Unified PR Director Alli Benjamin. “Has Marana seen so many students enrolled in summer school before?” Taja Davis asked.
“No, we certainly haven’t seen that many students enrolled,” replied Benjamin.
She says Marana’s K-8 saw a 142 percent increase in student numbers from 2019. The high school saw a 361 percent increase.
âWe really think there are kids out there who need the extra support and preparation before they jump into the new school year, but we’re also seeing students and families who just wanted to be engaged during the school year. ‘Summer after this year-and-a-half-break didn’t have some sort of traditional school model,’ Benjamin said.
But she says not all of Marana’s summer programs can be counted right now. Thanks to funding from ESSER, the district has been able to significantly expand its summer programs.
âPreviously we had some of our traditional summer programs, which we were able to continue to offer. But then we really stepped up and added additional programs like virtual lessons, additional vocational and technical training, some programs for our gifted students, âBenjamin said.
The past year and a half has undoubtedly been a challenge for students and families. Catch up with the children socially and for school, so that they can get back into the mix before the next school year.
âIt’s sort of double for families looking for educational opportunities during the summer and also for students who need extra help and support to help them prepare for success in the new. school year, âsaid Benjamin.