Naperville Unit District 203 is earmarking federal COVID-19 relief dollars for a free summer school class and other initiatives aimed at bridging learning gaps caused by the pandemic.
Academic boot camps, extra teaching specialists, tutoring services and prerequisite programs for upcoming courses also are included in the administration’s plan to address a disruption of in-person learning.
The strategies, presented earlier this month by Superintendent Dan Bridges, are expected to be rolled out this summer and into the next academic year.
The district anticipates receiving upward of $6 million through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to assist with education stabilization and recovery efforts, Bridges said. School board members last week unanimously approved dedicating those dollars to additional academic and social-emotional resources for students districtwide.
“I want to thank our administration for their efforts to really assess our students and find out what supports they need,” board President Kristen Fitzgerald said. “I think this board stands united in terms of providing whatever is necessary for our students to have any recovery, whether it’s social-emotional or academic, from the pandemic.”
Under the plan, each student currently enrolled in the district can sign up for one free summer course in 2021 or 2022, offering flexibility for families with prior commitments this year and providing additional learning time for kids who need it, Bridges said.
The maximum credit is $180 for kindergartners through eighth-graders and $210 for high schoolers, according to a letter from Kevin Wojtkiewicz, director of summer learning. Families will be responsible for paying the balance for classes that exceed that cost, such as Project Lead the Way and SAT prep.
The credit cannot be applied to driver’s education, after-school care or special science, math and sports camps, he said.
Families who have already signed up for summer school can apply for the free class option through their Student Quick Pay account and be issued a refund within the next few months, Wojtkiewicz said. Registration ends June 10, and all outstanding balances must be paid by June 21, the first day of class.
Other summer programs included in the district’s COVID-19 recovery plan include bridge courses, algebra essentials, jump start classes and AP boot camps, all of which are designed to elevate students’ skills and prepare them for the upcoming school year, Bridges said.
In the 2021-22 academic year, the administration’s recommendations call for providing a math specialist in each building, hiring more social workers, contracting with a tutoring agency and developing boot camps.
The promotion and accessibility of the additional resources is a priority to board member Charles Cush, who said outreach is key to ensuring “high utilization.” Additional details about those initiatives are forthcoming.