Summer Plans for APS Families

Robust Menu of Summer Exploration Programs
Posted on 04/27/2021
Image of Learning 2020-21 LogoOutgoing Chief Academic Officer Ellen McWilliams-Woods, Ph.D., delivered a detailed presentation for families in Akron Public Schools who may be giving strong consideration to figuring out summer plans in April and May.

"We are offering our most robust menu yet of summer exploration programs," McWilliams-Woods told the board of education at its April 26 meeting.

Her message to families was clear. APS wants to fill in any gaps students may have academically while alleviating families from needing to find childcare.

In total, APS will offer more than 60 programs, programs McWilliams-Woods said are aimed at fun and engaging ways of learning, including solving mysteries and taking field trips. Enrollment in summer programs will begin Thursday on the district's website. Students must be enrolled in APS to qualify.

The cost of the expansive programming comes from federal stimulus funding and several other areas such as Title I and Special Education. The programming works in two directions. "Not only will it help catch up students who are behind while offering opportunities to work ahead on earning certain credits, it strikes a healthy balance between moving forward while making sure if there are any gaps, we’re capturing those," McWilliams-Woods said.

Federal regulations stipulate that at least 20% of incoming relief dollars go toward academic recovery. Akron is set to receive just more than $100 million according to CFO Ryan Pendleton.

The APS camps, made possible by partnerships with local foundations and organizations, will be free of charge. Partners include Hale Farm and Village, Stan Hywet, the Soap Box Derby and the Akron Art Museum.

For elementary camps the district worked to identify where students are struggling the most in reading and math and then created problem-based learning programs for each grade level.

The district's Director of Elementary Education, Mary Outley-Kelly, told the board that the new summer Mystery Camps will run in three two-week sessions; students will be encouraged to enroll in all three sessions but can pick one or two to do as well. She said the district wants to be considerate of families' other summer plans by offering flexible programming.

Outley-Kelly also talked about partners in Akron who are joining with APS in the summer experience. "We have partners this summer. They are highly creative. For example, when students visit Lake Farm Park, they will learn about where their food comes from; and those who visit the Akron Zoo will learn about the importance of caring for wildlife," Outley-Kelly said.

While younger students will be working on experiential learning, middle and high schoolers will have options that range from online credit recovery and advancement and ACT preparation to robotics. Programs also will be offered within specific College & Career Academies of Akron.

For more details, and registration, go to Registration opens Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
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