Governor plans to use summer camp as way for Arizona children to catch up in classroom

Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 20:42:11-05

PHOENIX — No county was spared. No child left unaffected.

Learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic did not discriminate. It swept across the state in schools and at home.

"200,000 kids is the target. We want to help any child that needs help," said Governor Ducey during an interview last week.

Gov. Ducey says the state will spend $100 million in federal money to create the AZ Back on Track summer camp.

206,000 students from across Arizona, 250 hours of instruction for each student, 5,900 teachers and instruction aides are being recruited to make it happen.

Between the playful yells and screams of a dodgeball match, to the solitude of kids with chalk creating sidewalk art, there is always time for academic enrichment at the I.G. Homes Boys and Girls Club in Phoenix.

The children who attend after-school programs are students in the Phoenix Elementary School District #1.

Last summer, in an effort to limit the impact of learning loss from COVID, I.G. Homes and the other Phoenix area Boys and Girls Clubs began offering academic enrichment programs.

Every morning math and phonics were offered to the children.

When it came time to go back to school, many were ready. The program was funded by a state grant.

Parents did not have to pay for the children to be part of it. “The pandemic was not good for our kids and many of our children of color and kids in poorer areas,” the Governor said. “They didn’t have computer screens at home. They didn’t have Wi-Fi. Across the board, our kids need extra attention.”

English, math, and civics are the subjects being offered.

In a November 2021 report to the governor, the Arizona Department of Education said student proficiency in both math and English went down significantly from 2019 to 2020.

Students from Kindergarten to fifth grade experienced the worst learning loss.

“Two hundred and fifty additional hours may be something a child is looking forward to over the summer,” Gov. Ducey said. "But I think when a parent knows that their child has fallen behind, that there’s been a learning loss, this can address it and put the child in a position to be confident when they head into school in the fall.”

The summer camps will be located in schools, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs; anyplace where learning is possible.

The Governor’s office has posted alist of sites with instructions on how you can sign your children up.