City officials on Wednesday announced the launch of an initiative that will provide free summer programs for all San Francisco Unified School District students.
The Summer Together initiative was created by a coalition including TogetherSF, the City, SFUSD, community organizations, nonprofits and businesses partnering to offer a combination of free in-person and virtual learning experiences for students this summer.
“Our children have truly suffered during this pandemic, and we need to do everything we can to make up for lost time,” said Mayor London Breed, who announced the initiative along with Superintendent Vincent Matthews and TogetherSF. “Summer Together will support their mental health, their academic needs, and just get them to be back together with other children again.”
The summer programs will focus on continuity of learning, and “include curriculum to combat learning loss, ensure credit recovery for high school students, and provide comprehensive support for families,” according to a press release.
The different programs and opportunities offered will include:
— Academic in-person learning, with programs hosted at public school buildings and private commercial spaces, and facilitated by the Department of Children, Youth and their Families’ Community Hubs and the SFUSD’s summer school program
— In-person summer camp, with scholarships provided for summer camp with San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department and a variety of community based organizations and private camps
— Educator-staffed opportunities, with virtual learning opportunities from public and private organizations available, as well as short-duration, in-person support opportunities such as mental health counseling
— Independent learning, which includes eligibility for 10 summer reading books from the San Francisco Public Library
All programming will be fully-funded through a public-private partnership between The City of San Francisco and the San Francisco-based philanthropic foundation Crankstart, which provided $25 million toward the initiative.
A similar initiative called the San Francisco Summer Programs, Learning, and Activities for Youth – or PLAY – initiative, was announced March 1 by supervisors Connie Chan, Matt Haney, Myrna Melgar and Hillary Ronen, but lacked half of the approximately $30 million in funding that its sponsors estimated was needed for the program.
The supervisors who announced the PLAY initiative were upbeat about the Summer Together initiative.
“This is great news,” Chan told The Examiner. “When we started out with Supervisor Matt Haney making the commitment of $15 million, we knew that we needed more help. I’m so pleased to see that folks are answering the call and joining the effort. Now we get to really drill down on what is feasible and how to build out the programming capacity.”
“The Summer Together program is exactly what our kids deserve — top notch educational and enrichment opportunities that make learning fun again,” Ronen said. “This year has taught us that the public school system plays many essential roles in our society and we must nurture, prioritize, and adequately fund it if our kids are to get the education they deserve. I’m looking forward to partnerships like this one for many years to come.”