Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announces details on education summer camp

Mar 2, 2022, 5:02 PM | Updated: 6:02 pm
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)...
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler-Oatley)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday announced more details on an educational summer camp that will take place in hopes of combatting the effects COVID-19 had on learning.

The AZ OnTrack Summer Camp will take place at various sites throughout the state, with most getting underway in early June and running eight weeks.

Ducey is investing an initial $100 million to launch the summer camp, with additional funding available to meet demand. The goal is to have 250,000 kids participate.

“It will get our kids back on track in critical areas, reading, math and American civics,” Ducey said in a press conference. “This couldn’t come at a more pressing time. Last year, just 38% of our students passed the statewide English language arts test and only 31% passed the math test.

“I’m optimistic this year’s test results will look better as we’ve gotten more kids in the classroom in front of our wonderful teachers where the vast majority of kids learn best, but there’s more work to do to get our kids ready for fall.”

Ducey added studies have shown kids have significant learning loss over summer break and that risk can’t be taken this year.

“Our summer camp will not only ensure this slide never happens, but it will also accelerate their academic progress and set them up for success through K-12 education and beyond,” he said.

Schools and community partners that want to host a camp can sign up beginning Monday, Ducey said, and families in the coming weeks will be able to sign up their child for a location that best fits their needs.

Transportation to the various sites and meals will be provided as part of the program.

Ducey also announced that Lisa Graham Keegan, former superintendent of public instruction for the state from 1995-2001, would lead the program.

“This is not the time to have our children out of school for multiple weeks or months again,” Graham Keegan said in a press release. “They need each other, and they deserve experiences that reconnect them with the joys of learning.

“We all learned how much we value the beauty of a great school, a great youth camp, and of our children being together. This summer offers that again, and I am so grateful to the governor for making sure that the children who need this the most will have these opportunities.”

Ducey said teachers who participate would get professional development opportunities and competitive compensation.

He added the state board would be asked to offer teachers credits toward certification renewal, and the program is working with private sector partners to also offer perks like catered meals from restaurants and tickets to sporting events.

Graham Keegan said in looking for teachers for the summer camp the state may help facilitate job fairs and communications to educators, going to teacher organizations as well as universities for upcoming teachers to possibly participate.

She didn’t have an exact number of teachers who have already signed up for the summer camp, saying “lots of teachers have committed.”

Ducey originally announced the education summer camp during his State of the State in January.

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announces details on education summer camp