7,200 enrolled in Minneapolis summer school

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff takes a selfie with students in a summer school class Aug. 3 at Northeast Middle School. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

More than 7,200 students were enrolled in summer school this summer in Minneapolis Public Schools.

The district offered five weeks of programming for kids in grades pre-K–12, including traditional classes, science, technology, engineering and math courses, as well as credit recovery for high school students. The classes wrapped up Aug. 3.

Students’ attendance during the school year is higher when they attend summer school, according to Daren Johnson, Minneapolis’ director of extended learning. Summer school participation also improves feelings about coming to school and the relationships students have there, Johnson said.

The day runs like a normal school day for kindergarteners through fourth-graders, who go to class and attend activities such as physical education and music.

Jamie Stricherz, who taught kindergarten at Folwell School Performing Arts Magnet this summer, said in an email that teachers focus on literacy, math, science and social-emotional learning during summer session. The subjects are often integrated throughout the day, Stricherz said, such as by having students read or write on a science topic.

The classes are able to spend more time outside during summer session, she said, and the atmosphere is more relaxed. She added that summer school allows students to have consistent routines, which helps them gain confidence.

Fifth- through seventh-graders participate in gender-specific science and engineering programs, called GEMS and GISE, respectively. They include electives such as boatbuilding, guitar and cooking.

Eighth-graders participate in an introduction to high school program at Edison High School called Fast Track Scholars. The program allows students to connect with future classmates and take elective classes.

‘The whole goal is to target those students who may not transition as easily,” Johnson said.

Cargill provides significant funding for the materials for summer school, Johnson said.