PHOENIX — It's a huge undertaking, getting 250,000 public school children caught up in class. The COVID-19 pandemic did not discriminate. Our health, the economy, and our children's education were all impacted.
This summer, Arizona plans on targeting learning loss in a big way and summer camp may never be the same. Between the dodgeball games and the chalk art, students from K-12 will be able to attend classes in reading, math, and civics.
The pandemic had a profound effect on student learning. In 2021, only 38% of Arizona's public school students passed the statewide English language arts test.
"I don't want it to be seen or presented as summer school. This is going to be a summer camp with that kind of engagement and interaction between the kids and their peers. but it is also going to be that opportunity to get caught up," said Governor Doug Ducey.
To that end, the AZ On Track Summer Camp program is not just limited to school settings. Boys and Girls Clubs, Scout camps and YMCA's are also being enlisted to help.
The governor has authorized the spending of $100 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to fund the camps. 5,900 teachers and instructional aides are being recruited to make it happen.
"Most of our school systems public charter schools, our youth programs they offer opportunity for youth in the summer. We're trying to access that and expand it," said former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan. Keegan will serve as Chair of the OnTrack Summer Camp program.
The Summer Camps will begin in June and run for 8 weeks.
Parents can begin enrolling their children online beginning Monday March 7. The address is AZOnTrack.com.