Two New York City mayors came together Monday morning for the launch of a new $50 summer school student initiative called the “Summer Boost NYC” with financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Announced by Mayor Eric Adams and former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the summer school initiative aims to include both students from traditional public schools and charter schools to help students get back on track academically following the delays and obstacles of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For a lot of young New Yorkers, the crisis of the past two years may only just be starting unless we act and that is why I am here,” said former Mayor Bloomberg during the April 18 press conference. “The data is clear and it paints a devastating picture; after two years of school closures and inadequate remote instruction, students across the United States have fallen behind — sometimes as much as a whole year.”
The crisis of educational disparity impacts low income students as well as Black and Brown students most heavily. Without urgent or immediate assistance, many of these students will fall even further behind and will miss out on opportunities like college or pursuing a career.
“Here’s one way to think about this moment,” Bloomberg said to illustrate how dire the situation is. “Right now, scientists all over the world are studying long COVID to understand it and how to treat it. Well, what we are talking about today is the educational equivalent of long COVID.”
The good news, Bloomberg countered, was that this crisis was treatable and avoidable; by investing in extra help and providing intensive instruction during the summertime, during the city’s summer school program Summer Rising as well as the Summer Boost initiative.
Adams agreed with Bloomberg’s statements regarding the dire need to expand learning opportunities for students, especially after COVID and the surge of violent crime in recent months.
“We are going to be serving in our Summer Rising program 110,000 [students] k-8 this year,” said Adams. “The largest summer program in our city’s history. Our goal is to place our children in safe spaces so that we can bring down the violence, bring children to safe environments so that they can continue to grow and learn and prosper during the summer months.”
The Summer Rising program expansion also generally increases spots to 135,000 enrollees with the inclusion of charter school enrollees and intends to increase outreach and services by hiring more staff to accommodate for such a large enrollment class and offer extensive classes especially in math and reading – two problem areas for many public schools and charter schools that were exacerbated by the pandemic.
“The mayor has a program for all kids in New York City, whether they go to public schools that are charters or public schools that are not charters,” Bloomberg said. “This is a grant for most in need – let’s say a third of the kids – in charter schools who have been left behind to give them some extra work in the charter schools. And so we are funding that and that is where the $50 million is going.”
Schools Chancellor David C. Banks lauded the effort and collaboration between Adams and Bloomberg a great move to get NYC children back up to speed in learning.
“It is essential that every child in New York City has a safe and supportive place to grow this summer,” said Banks. “I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies for their generosity and for helping to lift up our youngest New Yorkers.”
To apply for the Summer Boost NYC program, visit summerboostnyc.org.