DC schools hope to pack extra learning into summer break

An unusual summer break is poised to follow what has already been an abnormal year for some D.C. students, with the city’s public schools packing extra learning opportunities between July and August.

In a typical summer, D.C. Public Schools would offer classes and programs such as literacy enrichment for elementary students, and credit recovery for secondary students.

But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the school system is expanding those options to include programs across every grade level.

There will be a mix of in-person and virtual learning opportunities for up to 7,000 students, with most programs starting on July 6 and running through Aug. 6.

“There should be a mix of social, emotional and academic learning opportunities together, as well as an opportunity for students to reengage and have fun,” said Corie Colgan, the school system’s chief of teaching and learning.

Colgan spoke Wednesday during a virtual meeting, where she laid out the summer plans.

In addition to the expanded systemwide programming, each individual school will develop its own summer learning opportunities that are meant to help students catch up and feel more normal again.

These “acceleration academies” will be designed to serve a targeted group of students at each school, which will include about 10% to 35% of each school’s population.

“We are working on approaches to recovery that will help accelerate student learning,” Colgan said. “We will design the programs for students who would most benefit from the additional support.”

While registration is not yet available for any of the summer learning opportunities, Colgan said families will have a chance to sign up in the coming weeks — likely starting around April 5.

The last day of the academic year is set for June 24.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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