Enrollment in Summer Bridge tops 7,000
Superintendent Mike Grego's push to get students into summer school is working.
More than 7,000 students in elementary and middle school have signed up for Summer Bridge, a new six-week program for struggling students in Pinellas County. More than 5,000 of the students are in elementary school. About 1,900 are in middle school, according to the school district's latest count.
High school students will be able to register for summer school after the results from end-of-course exams come in.
Grego announced the new program in mid-February, saying he planned to target 10,000 to 12,000 struggling students, or about 10 percent of students in the county's public school system, for the program in the hopes of curbing summer learning loss.
Research shows that summer learning losses are greatest among low-income students, who tend to start school already behind their more affluent peers. Over time, the gap between the low-income students and middle- to upper-income students grows. One way to cut that difference is with summer school. The catch, of course, is that the program has to be high quality and it has to last more than a couple weeks. Five to six weeks is ideal.
Prior to Summer Bridge, Pinellas cut back on its summer programs. Some schools ran their own summer camps, but they typically lasted only a couple weeks and were usually right after school got out.