Students sought for city schools summer term

Programs offered as enrichment, makeup work

July 07, 2006|By SARA NEUFELD | SARA NEUFELD,SUN REPORTER

Baltimore school system officials are encouraging city students to sign up for summer school programs and special-education makeup services, both of which begin Monday.

The system has staff to accommodate at least 25,000 students in summer school, interim Chief Executive Officer Charlene Cooper Boston said yesterday at her first news conference since starting the job this week. About 17,000 students have signed up for the programs, which will cost the system $9 million.

"We're excited about all the opportunities for young people in the summer," Boston said

Enrichment programs, designed to keep children academically engaged during the summer, are being offered for all pupils entering kindergarten and first and second grades. Title I schools, which serve large numbers of low-income children, are also offering programs for pupils entering grades three through eight.

All students entering ninth grade are eligible to attend a two-week program, from Aug. 7 to Aug. 18, designed to help them make a smooth transition to high school. The other summer programs will run from Monday to Aug. 4, most for four hours a day.

High school students may pay to make up courses they failed during the school year. The cost is $150 per class for up to two classes, though financial assistance is available.

In addition, the school system is using the summer to provide makeup services, such as speech therapy and counseling, to special-education students. Under a long-running special-education lawsuit, the system must provide tens of thousands of hours in services that students missed two years ago.

So far, the system has made up 28,123 of the 93,726 hours of services children missed during the 2004-2005 school year, according to figures released yesterday by Harry Fogle, leader of a team of state managers sent by a federal judge to oversee special education in the city.

Whether the system can make up the bulk of those hours this summer will depend on students enrolling and showing up to school, Fogle said. All students who missed services during the 2004-2005 school year are eligible for makeup services, even if they have graduated or moved out of the city, he added.

Two years ago, there was a breakdown in providing and documenting services to special-education students, caused in part by a shortage of speech therapists and other clinicians.

sara.neufeld@baltsun.com

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