Just a few years ago, Toledo Public Schools closed its buildings in the summers. Maintenance staff were the only people to walk through school halls most summer days.
This summer, about two dozen TPS elementary and high schools will offer some sort of programming, part of a district push to keep doors open, extend the school year, and feed hungry kids. And almost none of the programs will be run by TPS staff.
During the last two years, TPS has built a piecemeal summer-school system, opening its doors to community agencies that offered academic enrichment, summer activities, and food. Each year, the system has grown, as the district has moved toward something that approaches a comprehensive summer program.
The goal is to reduce “summer slide,” the loss of knowledge over break that hits low-income students particularly hard. TPS and representatives from several community agencies announced the program offerings last week.
The district will hold a kindergarten “jump start” program at seven schools, where students entering kindergarten at those schools will spend about two weeks getting acclimated to the environment. Expanded programming will be offered at district’s four community hub schools, which are funded by the United Way of Greater Toledo and run by community partners.
“Our hubs will be rocking and rolling this summer,” Chief Academic Officer Jim Gault said.
Boys and Girls clubs that are set inside three TPS schools will be open during the summer. Career tech camps will be available.
The Toledo-Lucas County Library system has reading clubs and has a fine-free card for children. The YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo will do enrichment programs at several schools. All the programs at TPS buildings will include meals for students.
Traditional summer school will be offered in an nontraditional way, with students making up credits using a computer-based curriculum.
Some of the growth this year is by way of necessity.
The state’s new third-grade reading guarantee, which requires third graders to repeat the grade if they fail reading tests, allows students to retake tests in the summer. TPS will offer a reading intervention program for five weeks at nine schools for those students.