Newark’s summer school program to focus on learning loss, enrichment

A child with short dark hair and wearing a mask writes with a pencil while seated as a desk.
Registration for Newark Public Schools summer school runs through May 23, and summer school will run from July 5 to Aug. 4. (Christina Veiga / Chalkbeat)

With the warmer months fast approaching, Newark is gearing up for summer school and parents can anticipate programs to help students recover academically and prepare for the next school year. 

Registration for Newark Public Schools summer school began April 27, and summer school will run from July 5 to Aug. 4. The district released a complete list of programs in its online brochure.

As in past years, the district will hold mandatory summer classes for struggling students, programming for students with disabilities, and optional programs for all students led by community partners at various Newark schools. 

This year, Superintendent Roger León said the summer school program will “accelerate” learning and help students recover from the learning loss experienced due to the pandemic.

León also stressed the importance of attending mandatory summer school for those students who may be at risk of falling behind. The extra instruction is intended to help to fill academic gaps, reinforce skills, and better prepare students for the next school year, the district said. 

Mandatory summer school is usually based on attendance, grades, and student achievement on assessments, as well as recommendations of staff and parents, according to Nancy Deering, the district’s acting communications director. 

The district will monitor the progress of students this summer and create an impact study during the summer or by the start of next school year. 

Last year, over 10,000 students attended the district’s summer school; there are roughly 38,000 students enrolled this year. Newark held programs at 15 elementary school sites where students received academic instruction from the morning until noon and activities until 3 p.m. such as dance and swimming, with several community based partners. 

The district also offered a STEM Academy and a Summer Visual and Performing Arts Academy. And some students participated in field trips to Turtle Back Zoo, the Liberty Science Center, and the Newark Museum.

What families can expect this summer

Not all school sites will be open for summer school, but the district plans on opening more sites than last year throughout the city so parents can limit the amount of travel for their children. Students can report to the school closest to their home this summer, León said. 

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During the day, students will receive breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and lunch at noon. Academic instruction will take place between 9 a.m. to noon. Students interested in participating in extra activities will be able to do so between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with an option for an extended day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

The Extended School Year program will also be available this year for students with disabilities. Students in this program require services beyond the traditional school year — as per their Individual Education Plan — and will receive academic and behavioral support in the morning.

High school students interested in participating in the summer credit recovery program will be provided with more information at their school. 

This year, incoming ninth grade students can participate in the summer bridge program to help middle school students transition into high school. 

Students interested in participating in summer programs must register before May 15. 

León says teachers are critical to summer success

Newark is currently accepting staff applications for teachers interested in working summer school and soliciting applications for community organizations looking to host afternoon activities for students.

The “attendance of teachers is critical” to student participation in summer programs, León said.

Teachers will work between 8:30 a.m and 12:30 p.m. and community partners between noon and 6 p.m. 

“We are creating all the programs and we need as many people who feel they can help to join us,” León added. 

Transportation options are available to students

Some students may be eligible for transportation based on the distance between their home and summer school site. 

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Students eligible for transportation will receive confirmation of the shuttle pick up and drop off locations with their “Enrollment Confirmation Letter,” according to the district

Extended School Year students will receive transportation as outlined in their Individual Education Plans. The Office of Special Education will work with families to set up specific transportation arrangements.

Last year, transportation was not provided for the Extended Day Program that runs until 6 p.m. Families were responsible for arranging student pick-up from this program.

Jessie Gomez is a reporter for Chalkbeat Newark, covering public education in the city. Contact Jessie at jgomez@chalkbeat.org

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