New York City’s free summer school and camp initiative for elementary and middle school students is revising its nail-biting application process that required parents to act fast to get spots, officials announced at a council hearing. Municipal on Wednesday.
Summer Rising will move away from the “first come, first served” enrollment model that in previous years excluded families from the program, adding to the stress many parents experience when seeking child care in the winter months. summer.
“To address this, we are planning to improve the process,” said Keith Howard, commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development. “This summer, families will be able to apply at any time during the enrollment period process.”
Last year, most of the program’s 110,000 slots were sold out within the first week of application opening, and 90% of programs were already full. The race for seats led educational news site Chalkbeat to call Summer Rising “The most popular ticket in New York.”
Under the new process, parents will be able to rank multiple programs by preference. Last year, parents could only select one program per child and the year before, they could submit multiple applications.
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Still, the city appeared to have no plans to expand the number of seats at Summer Rising since last year, when many kids in the younger grades and in Queens and Staten Island were locked out of the initiative within days of the start of the program. registration period. .
Officials will try to promote year-round programming by giving priority to children who participate in department-funded summer after-school programs run by the same providers.
The summer program will also continue to prioritize students who are forced to attend summer school due to their grades, as well as children who are homeless or with disabilities who require year-round support.
“I have a high level of confidence that enrollment will be better and better this year,” Howard said.
Summer Rising offers a mix of academic activities in the morning and recreation and enrichment in the afternoon. For the third year, it will be open to the two children required to attend summer school due to their academic records, plus those who enroll by choice.
The school locations are currently being finalized and will then be matched with select community organizations, Howard told the City Council.
Applications open next month.