Posted Date: 05/24/2021
As the 2020-2021 academic year winds down, school districts across the Tulsa area are preparing for summer programming that will look a little different than in years past.
For at least the younger grades, several area districts, including Union, Bixby and Tulsa are using federal COVID-19 relief funds to take a summer camp-style approach to help encourage student participation while filling in gaps from the previous school year.
Along with covering teacher stipends, the funds are helping cover other programming costs, such as curriculum and supplies.
“There goes the misnomer of a nine-month school year,” Union Assistant Superintendent Sandi Calvin said. “At least for us, 2021 is a 12-month school year.”
Her district is preparing to host about 2,900 elementary school students on its campuses over the summer.
The last day of school for students in grades 6-12 is Tuesday. The last day of school for all elementary schools in Union is Friday, May 28.
Thanks to construction projects, a handful of sites are combining with other nearby schools, such as Darnaby and Cedar Ridge on the district’s south side. However, most of the district’s elementary schools will offer free camps focusing on a range of disciplines based on parent feedback.
Theresa Kiger, who oversees Union’s elementary school summer programming, said some sites’ camps filled up within a matter of minutes.
“Students are not required to attend, but we’ve tried to make sure that the events they’re offering are exciting and fun,” she said. “We wanted to provide a safe place where their needs are being taken care of and they’re able to see their friends.”
An additional 2,845 secondary students have either been specifically invited to participate in summer school or are required to come in order to stay on track academically. Along with full credit recovery programs, the district will offer an academic boot camp for students who are close to passing a course. Those programs will be one-week, all-day affairs where students can make up a maximum of 20% of a course’s grade.
To accommodate those students, all five of the district’s secondary sites will be open over the summer.
John Federline is over Union’s secondary summer school programs. He said the response has not been quite as enthusiastic among the older students as the younger students.
“We’re still expecting a strong turnout, though,” he said.