HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Summer school is usually one of the most dreaded phrases for students, but officials expect summer school attendance will be way up this year.

Superintendents say summer programs will focus on social skills as well as academics. That’s because many students have not been in the classroom in more than a year and some have never actually been at school.

“I absolutely believe that summer school will be a major event this year,” said Fran Rabinowtiz, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

Normally, most students look forward to taking a break from school during the summer, but this year, superintendents are preparing for summer school attendance to be way up.

“It’s about inviting them back to celebrate their being able to learn together again,” Rabinowitz said.

The pandemic has been a huge disruption for education. Some students have fallen behind while trying to learn remotely while others have missed having engagement with classmates and teachers.

“Some students are going to work on just getting to know their peers. Other students are going to work on mindfulness and team building,” said Hartford Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.

State and federal aid will help pay for the expanded summer classes. Connecticut is using some of its six billion dollars form the Recovery Act to help fund summer school, camps, and other educational opportunities for kids.

“Get the summer programs going, the learning programs going, free access for museums and aquariums and a lot of programs with kids,” said Governor Ned Lamont.

School officials say they’ll have more enrichment classes and activities as they try to make summer school more fun for kids.

“Everything from enrichment camps like learning to play guitar and coding because we really think summer should be fun,” said Glastonbury Assistant Superintendent Cheri Burke.

Summer school will look different depending on the school. Glastonbury, for example, will have some remote learning options. On the other hand, Hartford will not. The district is instead planning in-person programming for 10,000 students across thirty locations this summer.

For some of those students, it will be the first time they’ve entered a Hartford school building.

“This will be the first time that they come back into the school,” Torres-Rodriguez said.

Hartford says this is part of a multi-pronged effort over the next three years to give students more learning opportunities. They’ve identified students through an early-warning system and using every method they can to promote summer school.

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