Baltimore city students will have a plethora of options for education and recreation this summer, under a new partnership between city agencies and school system that will expand the scope and length of programming for city youth.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blakeand City schools CEO Andres Alonso announced Wednesday that with the help of non-profit and philanthropic communities, the city’s recreation efforts will converge with the system’s summer learning initiatives to create a unique structure of a full-day of summer programming.
The city and school system will host a summer recruitment fair on Saturday at the War Memorial Building, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where parents can sign their students up for all programs that will be offered this summer.
“This is a huge step forward to make sure we are maximizing not only the quality, but the quantity of programs we’re offering this summer,” Rawlings-Blake said at the kick-off event, held at Brehms Lane Elementary School.
The trademark effort of what the city has branded the “Super Summer” program will allow 1,500 students to attend city schools summer classes from 8 to 12 p.m., and head to recreational summer programs from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The joint effort will also provide students breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For those 1,500 students, the city will also expand the school system’s reading program by offering “Read to Succeed Plus,” a program that will target third grade reading—a critical point in a student’s literacy development.
The school system will offer “Read to Succeed” to about 6,000 students as part of its summer school Reading Academy, but those in the “Plus” program will have access to it all day.
Additionally, the city will expand its YouthWorks initiative, offering new opportunities for students to be employed by businesses in the private sector, which has had scarce participation in the YouthWorks program in the past.
Under the new effort, called Hire One Youth, more than 100 private sector businesses—five times more than last year— signing on to hire at least one youth this summer.
The efforts will piggy back on the city school system’s renowned summer school program, which has been hailed as a model for success nationally for its integration of remediation and enrichment opportunities.
In the last two years, students have not only posted increased test-scores, but have also been exposed to opportunities like building robotics and world languages that are not offered in every school.
Alonso said that he is pleased that the notion that summer school is only for remediation purposes. “Now it’s about getting ahead,” Alonso said.