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About 6,630 students show for Summer Bridge



When Summer Bridge kicked off in Pinellas on Monday, nearly 9,000 students had signed up - a huge showing for the first year of a program, particularly one that was announced only four months ago.

But not everyone who signed up for Summer Bridge actually showed up: 5,007 elementary school students came Wednesday, meaning 22 percent were no-shows. Of the middle school division, 1,626 students were in seats Wednesday, making 36 percent no-shows.

Pinellas County Schools spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said the district was still happy with the head count, closer to 6,630 now than 9,000.

"We were expecting that there would be registered students that would not attend, but that is a hard number to predict because this is the first year of Summer Bridge," Parra said. "We are very pleased to have nearly 7,000 students participating in the summer learning opportunity."

With fewer students, though, comes a need for fewer teachers. "The staffing model will be adjusted to ensure efficient and effective use of district resources," Parra acknowledged.

Almost 700 teachers applied for Summer Bridge, and Superintendent Michael Grego said last week that he was continuing to hire teachers as more and more kids signed up.

Kim Black, president of the teachers union, said the turn-out was "tremendous," particularly at the elementary level, "considering it's the first time Pinellas has held summer programs such as this in many years."

"Having no-shows, however, results in two downsides," Black said. "Those students lose out on summer instruction and some teachers lose their summer employment."

The Gradebook has asked the district how many teachers hired for Summer Bridge will no longer be needed. We'll update when we know more.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 20, 2013 10:22am]


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