Home Taxi transport What to know about New York’s hottest ticket, Summer Rising

What to know about New York’s hottest ticket, Summer Rising

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Just a week after New York City opened applications for Summer Rising, its ambitious program that combines academics and camp-like activities, most elementary school sites are already full.

Of 267 schools offering K-5 programs, fewer than 30 still had openings, according to the Education Department’s enrollment portal Monday afternoon.

This is only the second time the city has opened up its revamped summer program to all students, not just those struggling to attend classes. The mornings will focus on academics led by teachers from the Department of Education. The afternoons will offer enrichments such as educational outings, artistic activities and outdoor games organized by community organizations.

The $101 million program provides 110,000 places for elementary and middle school students in charter schools or traditional public schools. The city serves about 682,000 children in these classes, according to state data. Places are allocated in order of arrival, without a waiting list. (Separately, former mayor Michael Bloomberg recently donated $50 million to charter schools to run their own programs.)

Education department officials were delighted to see the “tremendous interest” in this year’s summer program, but due to staffing constraints, they do not plan to add more places.

“In order to maintain student safety, we are unable to add seats to Summer Rising sites at this time,” Department of Education spokeswoman Jenna Lyle said in a statement.

Additionally, the program gives priority to students in temporary housing and people with disabilities who are required to attend school year-round. Schools also reserve places for students who must attend for academic purposes.

High schools will offer separate programs for students who need to retake classes, and the city offers 100,000 places for young people aged 14 to 21 in its summer jobs program.

Here’s what families need to know about Summer Rising:

What are the dates and times?

The seven-week elementary school program runs from July 5 to August 19 and is offered in 267 schools across the city.

The six-week college program runs from July 5 to August 12, with nearly 230 schools offering places for grades 6-8, with some of those campuses also offering K-5 places.

Both programs run until 6:00 p.m.

Can my children attend their own school for Summer Rising? If not, what are the other options?

Not all schools host Summer Rising programs in their buildings, but all schools are affiliated with a school that does. Your child’s school is expected to provide you with the name of your child’s school’s partner building. Most seats, however, have already been taken, so options are limited.

Unlike last year, the new registration portal will only allow families to register for one program per child rather than allowing multiple applications. You will know immediately if a site is booked since it will not appear on the drop-down screen when you access the registration page. (The list of participating schools is available here.)

Last summer, the program got off to a rocky start, with problems in the online registration portal and unregistered children showing up at venues, resulting in students being seated in auditoriums during early days of some schools as enrollment issues were resolved.

What if my child has special needs? What type of accommodation will there be?

The city aims to improve on last summer’s performance, when some community organizations lacked staff, such as paraprofessionals, to support some students.

The city has increased the training of people from organizations that run enrichment programs. The city will also make time during the summer for these staff members to learn from teachers how to support students with disabilities. City officials also promised more information soon on how they will better support students who need paraprofessional or nursing support to fully participate in academic and enrichment programs.

“There has been a more intentional push to include students with disabilities. If it was a normal time it would be fine, but the staff as a whole is a big concern,” said Nora Moran of United Neighborhood Houses, an umbrella organization for community organizations. “Providers have struggled to staff their after-school year programs this year; they want to serve this population but need the staff and resources to do so.

At 80 sites, the city is co-locating programs for students in District 75, which serves those with the greatest needs, with programs for developing students. The program for students with disabilities ends at 2:30 p.m., then these students can join the enrichment programs in the afternoon. Afternoon program staff will be in the classroom with special education teachers in the morning, learning how to support students.

My child is transported to school. Will Summer Rising offer buses?

Transportation was a major issue last summer for children who rely on bus transportation during the school year, including those with disabilities or students in temporary housing. Some students who took the bus in the morning did not have a bus to go home in the afternoon. The city eventually offered to take over car services, but advocates pointed out that many working families don’t have time to use the services, which require a carer to accompany a student.

“For many parents, it is not possible to transport their child with a significant disability to and from their school,” said Randi Levine, of Advocates for Children. “We know that many students with disabilities last year were unable to participate in Summer Rising afternoon activities due to lack of bus service.”

City officials said they would offer buses to eligible students until 3 p.m. and were working on options for children staying until 6 p.m.

“Unfortunately, operational constraints make large-scale 6 p.m. busing a significant challenge,” the Department of Education’s website says.

Authorities are exploring a ride-sharing or prepaid taxi service, including wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

Alex Zimmerman contributed reporting.

Amy Zimmer is Chalkbeat New York’s bureau chief. Contact Amy at [email protected]