Arizona summer learning camp program will return for 2023
PHOENIX – An Arizona summertime learning program for schoolchildren has gotten the greenlight for a second year from Gov. Doug Ducey.
More than 70,000 students in pre-K to 12th grade participated in AZ OnTrack Summer Camp‘s inaugural session, with 86% of them making progress toward, meeting or exceeding the learning goals set for them.
“I’d give it an A,” program chair Lisa Graham Keegan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday.
“The schools and camps who offered these programs did an outstanding job for over 70,000 families, mostly students from low-income families, so the right kids who needed it most, the right results and I’m so grateful to the governor, who wants to do it again.”
The free program featured 685 camps in each of Arizona’s 15 counties designed to help students catch up on with schooling that was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Another round of AZ OnTrack Summer camp is sorely needed for our kids. This is a community effort and we cannot afford for our kids to lose more ground next summer,” Ducey said in a press release Tuesday.
Children worked on reading, math and civics and social aspects. An initial $100 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan was applied.
“I think we’ve learned a lot not using summer programs for dreariness. You can really engage kids,” Graham Keegan said.
“Gov. Ducey, he called it summer camp, he didn’t call it summer school. It was necessary for everybody who wanted to participate to offer not only the academic program – math reading or writing or civics – they had to have an adventure component, it had to feel fun.”
Graham Keegan said most of the Arizona’s public schools had “a huge amount” of funding left from the federal government.
“They’ve got three years to use it through 2024. We shouldn’t be the only state in the union doing this. … I think this is a great model for the rest of the country.”