School’s out for summer, well not for everyone.
After warming up with some basketball drills on the Bronx Delta School campus, Mayor Eric Adams this morning announced that he’s expanding the Summer Rising youth education program for the city’s K-eight students started under former Mayor Bill de Blasio last year.
Instead of scrapping de Blasio’s program and replacing it with something entirely new, Adams said he wants to keep it in place because many parts of it worked.
“We’re going to take what was successful about Summer Rising and we’re going to build on top of it,” Adams said. “This year, we’ll have more hours, including 6pm for middle schoolers. More programming, like including Fridays. And more students. Over 100,000 students in grade K-eight will make it the largest summer program in our city’s history.”
Joined by city Department of Education Chancellor David Banks, Assemblyman Michael Bennedeto (D – Bronx) and Councilwomen Marjorie Velázquez (D – Bronx) and Althea Stevens (D – Bronx), Adams said the program will continue to be a partnership between the DOE and community based organizations.
Expanding Summer Rising is necessary, Adams said, because children whose families can’t afford private summer camps or programming often end up sitting at home and not using that time to develop. He wants to provide lower-income families with the same opportunities as more affluent families.
“But when you go to affluent parts of the city, they have a well organized, structured program in place,” Adams said. “They know what museum they’re going to. They know what summer program they’re going to attend. They know where they’re going to go on vacation, so they can learn about foreign lands. It’s very organized and structured. So when our children get back in school in September, they have a summer loss. Affluent communities get back to school in September, they have a summer enhancement.”
DOE instructors will teach students all of the basic subjects, Adams said, including English, social studies, math and science. Banks said summer programs are typically thought of as a form of remediation for struggling students. But while Summer Rising will offer remediation to students who need it, the program will be open to all DOE students.
Days at the program, which run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., are divided into two parts, Banks said.
“The first part of the day will be spent on academics, whether there’s some form of remediation that is necessary, we’ll do that,” Banks said. “And otherwise, there’ll be academic acceleration, as well. And the latter part of the day, in the afternoon, is essentially where we will be fully engaged in the community based organizations in the enrichment activities.”
These enrichment activities in the latter part of the day include exploring the city’s various neighborhoods and cultural institutions.
“Walking through these great parks and stadiums,” Adams said. “Riding the subway system and seeing the history of the subway system.”
Additionally, Adams said, this program can be an opportunity for children to learn about cultures they’re unfamiliar with, which could in turn help battle the rise in hate crimes the city has seen during the pandemic.
“Learn why someone wears a Hijab, a Yamaka, a Kufi. Learn the experience and the rich history in the Chinese community, in the various communities. Our Caribbean diaspora. Our African diaspora. The Jewish community in Williamsburg and in Crown Heights.”
Whether it’s inside or outside of the classroom, children want to learn during the summer, Adams said. And by strengthening this program the city is providing more kids with that opportunity.
“All we have to do as adults is get the heck out of the way,” Adams said. “All of our baggage, all of our issues, all of our biases is tarnishing these children. They are ready to embrace.”