Last call for summer school: families must sign up by Tuesday night, officials say

Children sitting at tables give a thumps up to a teacher in the background
Elementary school students in the Summer Rising program at Students at the Summer Rising program at P.S. 382/M.S. 447 in the Bronx, run by the nonprofit Good Shepherd, participate in a drama and theater class. (Christina Veiga / Chalkbeat)

Families who want to participate in New York City’s expanded summer school programming must register by midnight on Tuesday, city officials announced Monday.

The program, known as Summer Rising, is free and open to all city residents and includes a mix of academic work in the mornings and camp-oriented enrichment activities in the afternoons.

The program launched on July 6, but city officials have allowed families to keep registering on a rolling basis. Some sites have struggled to hire enough staff for the program and parents have continued to walk in and drop off children who weren’t already signed up. 

Officials said that Monday, July 19 is the final day walk-ins are allowed. Online registrations will close Tuesday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Nonetheless, sites may continue to enroll students after the deadline if they have extra space, an education department spokesperson said.

“It’s easy to sign up — we welcome as many kids as want to be a part of it,” de Blasio said. The program wraps up on Aug. 12 for middle schoolers, Aug. 13 for high schoolers, and Aug. 20 for students in grades K-5. Officials did not immediately say why they decided to shut down enrollment this week with short notice to families.

City officials previously said roughly 93,000 students in grades K-8 were participating in the Summer Rising program that includes afternoon enrichment activities operated by nonprofit community organizations. Another 80,000 high school students are also participating in summer programming, though the format for those students varies. Another 23,000 students with disabilities who are entitled year-round schooling are enrolled in summer programming, though not all of them are eligible for enrichment programming through Summer Rising since high school students are not eligible for the afternoon programming operated by community organizations.

The idea of dramatically expanding summer programming beyond students who are behind academically has won praise from many advocates and parents, and is a model the mayor hopes will continue in future years.

But the program’s rollout so far has been bumpy, with confusion over the enrollment process, last-minute directives that required some sites to enroll more students than they were expecting, difficulty hiring enough staff to supervise it, and concerns over transportation options for students with disabilities and those in temporary housing.

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