Albuquerque Public Schools is scuttling some of its summer school programs after they failed to draw interest last year.
Among the programs going away are an AVID program for middle school students and a pair of summer programs for elementary students, said Jami Jacobson, APS executive director of curriculum and instruction.
Popular summer programs like K-3 Plus, Start Smart and the PNM Power Camp still will be available. So will high school remediation and an extended school year for special education students, Jacobson said.
APS has tried to offer more “enrichment” summer programs aimed at getting kids excited about particular subjects because research shows those classes do more to improve student learning than remediation classes, which often don’t move the needle, Jacobson said.
“The problem is we could not get enrollment last year” in some of the programs, she said.
APS’ AVID Summer Bridge program, for example, only attracted 63 students last year when it needed 200 to 300 to be cost efficient, Jacobson said. AVID programs, which are also offered during the regular school year, teach students how to prepare for college and also offer tutoring.
APS school board member Barbara Petersen said the district has had to work hard this year to overcome a multimillion dollar budget deficit. In light of the budget woes, the district has to justify every program, she said. Elementary programs called “Into the Wild” and “Healthy Body,” which had a science emphasis, also will be nixed because they did not have enough enrollment last summer, Jacobson said.
She said there is a bit of a paradox because parents say they want APS to offer fun and dynamic summer school programs, but when they were offered, there wasn’t the interest. Part of that is because families are busy in the summertime with vacations and family visits that can conflict with summer school schedules. Jacobson said the district is not giving up on summer enrichment programs and will continue working on ways to make them appealing to families.
The good news, Jacobson said, is the district is offering summer school to more overall students because it expanded the K-3 Plus program – which extends the school year five weeks for students in kindergarten through third grade – to an additional 11 schools this year.
She said summer programs are available to about 80 percent of students in APS.