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Tulsa Public Schools summer academy expands to reach more students

Posted at 4:35 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 19:58:01-04

TULSA, Okla. — School is out for the summer, but for more than 4500 students, they're back in the classroom.

TPS pre-enrolled 6,000 struggling students in its summer academy and opened the door to anyone else who wanted four extra weeks of instruction.

"That's just one less thing that our teachers have to worry about next year," faculty adviser Kinsey Cook said. "If we can get them caught up and get them on grade level I think that is doing a huge thing for our Tulsa teachers."

At Celia Clinton Elementary, about 600 student arrived for summer school this week. Staff tell 2 Works for You that's about double the numbers from last year.

"While it was hard for us and challenging for us to acommodate that large group, it was great because we didn't have to turn any parents away," Cook said. "It was nice to not have to say 'hey, your kid can't go to summer school.' We just got to keep them here, put them in the classroom, and promote the most learning."

The deputy chief of academics for the district said about 40 percent of learning is lost over the summer.

"Lots of students find that they are losing some of the traction they make during the year over summer, and we want to give them an opportunity to close that gap and continue to strive ahead to what they're going to accomplish next year," Danielle Neves said.

This comes in the wake of 2019 Kids Count data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, putting Oklahoma 42nd in the nation for child well-being by looking at factors like education and health.

But Cook said expanded summer learning can help push these students ahead.

"I can usually pick out the kids that have gone to summer school and who hasn't because they have stayed in that routine and they're easier to get back into that routine," she said. "It's not as big of an adjustment because they haven't gone dormant all summer. So they get back on track and they adjust real well."

The program also provides breakfast and lunch to all students. Cook said for many TPS schools, about 90 percent are on free or reduced lunch.

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