TUCSON, Ariz. — Summer school is in full swing for many districts, and as you can imagine, summer school enrollment is up. KGUN9’s Taja Davis gathered the numbers from several area school districts to compare their enrollment from years prior.
Summer schools are seeing numbers never seen before in the year after the height of the pandemic when schools historically shut down and changed course.
Here are the enrollment numbers for Tucson Unified School District. This summer has more than 11,000 students. Four times more students than back in 2019 with more than 2,700 enrolled.
Sunnyside Unified has more than 3,500 enrolled when only 1,200 attended the summer before the pandemic.
Flowing Wells Unified more than doubled: 2,500 are enrolled now, only 1,200 enrolled in 2019.
Tanque Verde Unified and Vail have smaller enrollment numbers, but increases nonetheless. For districts like Vail, this is the first time summer school is being offered for non-high school students.
KGUN9 caught up with Marana Unified’s public relations director, Alli Benjamin. “Has Marana ever seen this many students enrolled in summer school before?” asked Taja Davis.
“No, we definitely have not seen this many students enrolled,” answered Benjamin.
She says Marana’s K-8 saw a 142-percent increase in students compared to 2019. High school saw a 361-percent increase.
“We definitely think there are some kids who need some extra support and preparation before they launched into the new school year, but then we’re also seeing some students and families who just wanted to be engaged over the summer, after this year-and-a-half hiatus of not having sort of a traditional school model,” said Benjamin.
But she says, not all of Marana’s summer programs can be counted at this time. Due to the district receiving ESSER funding, it was able to expand its summer programs significantly.
“Previously in the past, we had some of our traditional summer programs, which we’ve been able to continue to offer. But then we really ramped up and added some additional programs such as virtual classes, additional career and tech-ed training, some programs for our gifted students,” said Benjamin.
The last year and a half has no doubt been a challenge for students and families. Catching the kids up socially and for school, so they can get back into the swing of things before the upcoming school year.
“It’s kind of been two-fold for families looking for educational offerings during the summer and then also for those students who need additional assistance and support to help them get ready to be successful in the new school year,” said Benjamin.