NHPS ready for a ‘Summer of Fun’
NHPS students will be dancing, playing sports, learning and more this summer.
Courtesy of New Haven Public Schools
This summer, New Haven Public School students will have a chance to lace up their shoes and join in the district’s “Summer of Fun.”
Students from kindergarten to 12th grade will have the opportunity to participate in academic enrichment programs, fitness initiatives and, for high school students, credit retrieval. Programming for the “Summer of Fun” was developed over the past month, after NHPS sent families a “summer family needs survey” to determine what academic and social programming interests existed within the community. After consulting the survey’s roughly 2,000 responses, NHPS officials announced the makeup of its summer offerings at a community webinar on Thursday. District officials emphasized that above all, the summer activities will be fun.
“Yes, we still know the pandemic is going on … we still need to be very cautious and aware of that.” Superintendent Iline Tracey said to parents during Thursday’s webinar. “At the same time, we need to get out there … the district’s focus is to offer opportunities for playing in summertime.”
On May 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., over 30 NHPS staff and community partners will host a virtual resource fair for families interested in participating in the “Summer of Fun.” NHPS parents received an email and text about the fair shortly after the meeting, which will be accessible on the program’s website. On June 2, Tracey will host a community-wide “Fitness and Move” challenge in anticipation of the start of summer festivities. NHPS programming officially begins on July 1 and is slated to run through the end of the month.
This year’s programming will greatly expand on previous years’ offerings.
At Thursday’s webinar, Gemma Joseph Lumpkin, NHPS chief of youth, family and community engagement stated that the number of schools hosting camps this year will expand from 6 to 12. Each site will operate for an extended daily schedule of 8 a.m. 4 p.m., as opposed to 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in past years. The camps will include wellness activities and academic support from dozens of community organizations and the City Youth and Recreation Department. Joseph Lumpkin said she expects a full list of community partners to be published after Saturday’s fair.
District officials also clarified at Thursday’s meeting other details regarding the “Summer of Fun.” Joseph Lumpkin said that the district’s activities are available to both New Haven and interdistrict students — those who live out of the district but attend a New Haven school — though there will be no transportation for the latter group. Students who will start at an NHPS school for the first time in the 2021-22 academic year will also be allowed to participate. The district has worked to ensure programming options for all student populations, including students with special needs, Joseph Lumpkin said.
According to a press release from NHPS, summer programming will be either free of cost or low-cost with scholarship opportunities. The district has said scholarships for summer camps will be funded by organizations like Elm City Communities, New Haven’s Housing Authority. United Way will offer a grant to help youth organizations adapt their existing summer programs into a hybrid or in-person format.
“It is imperative we change the trajectory of the Covid 19 impact on our youth,” Gwendolyn Williams, director of the youth and recreation department, wrote in the press release. “This collaboration will allow us to create a sense of normalcy as the State of Connecticut opens up again.”
The “Summer of Fun” is financed in part through the $37.8 million the district received from the ESSER II grant — federal dollars meant to address pandemic learning loss and challenges. NHPS’ abstract for the all ESSER II programs has since been approved by state officials and will help fund new temporary hires and new technology for students, in addition to summer programming. The abstract submitted to the state accounts for about $26 million of the $37.8 million, and district officials will allocate the additional $11.8 million in the near future, according to Joseph Lumpkin.
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker released his Summer Youth Guide last month. The Guide lists summer programming for city youth.