De Blasio and Carranza roll out summer school plan for New York City students

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza speaks at a news conference at the Office of Emergency Management about the Coronavirus, March 2, 2020.
Photo by Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

Over 177,000 New York City public school students are expected to attend summer school this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday. Last year, only about 15,000 children sat for summer school classes. 

About 67,000 of those students are third through eighth-graders, 83,000 are high schoolers and 27,700 are students across all grade levels with disabilities, according to the mayor’s office. 

Out of the 177,700 projected summer school students, 102,000 of those students will be required to sit for an additional six weeks of class because they failed a course. About 48,000 students will be recommended by teachers or principals to take online courses,  according to Department of Education spokesperson Danielle Filson. 

“You take away months of the school year in the much more effective setting of everyone being together in a school building where teachers can use all their skills for maximum impact, of course it’s going to have an impact,” de Blasio told reporters in response to questions about the massive spike in summer school students. “And it’s going to be a negative impact.” 

“Having to get used to a new model, there is a certain amount of drag, there is a certain amount of acclimation and that’s true for all of us,” said de Blasio. “Also, a lot of kids didn’t have the technology and we had to get it to them.”

Since city public schools transitioned to online learning equipping students with laptops, iPads or another internet-capable device has been a race against time. In late April, about 19,000 students were still waiting for the device.  As of Tuesday, the city has delivered 284, 000 iPads to public school students across the city and currently has 5,000 on route to more students with the total number of requested iPads now at 297,000. But some lawmakers and parents take issue with the devices arguing that laptops are better for school work. 

Summer school students with disabilities will begin online classes July 1 the mayor said, less than a week after the spring semester ends on June 26 and finish by August 13. Third through eighth-grade students as well as high school students will begin their summer school session on July 13. Summer school for grade-schoolers will end by August 18 with high schoolers finishing up by the 21. 

“It will obviously look different depending on the age and grade level of the student and it will take creativity, it will take a lot of innovation along the way,” said Mayor de Blasio during his daily novel coronavirus press conference. “It’s going to be a huge effort, an unprecedented effort.”

Elementary school students will only need to attend classes four days a week The city will provide students with “virtual field trips,” e-books, “virtual clubs” to help students cope with being cooped up inside during the summer. Online lessons will be live and pre-recorded. 

High schoolers will have five hours of class, five days a week in classes that they failed or received a “course in progress” mark in and like their younger counterparts, will have one-on-one check-ins with guidance counselors or social workers, said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Applications for teachers to instruct over the summer will open this week, Carranza said.