PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced the launch of a statewide summer learning camp initiative aimed at helping Arizona kids get caught up in math, reading and civics.
"There’s been too much attention put on masks; and not nearly enough placed on math. A focus on restrictions rather than reading and writing. And it’s students of color and those in poverty who have been most impacted by the COVID-era posturing and politics of some school board bureaucrats,” the Governor said during his State of the State Address.
A July 2021 national analysis from McKinsey & Company indiciates “students testing in 2021 were about ten points behind in math and nine points behind in reading, compared with matched students in previous years.” The analysis also says, “In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education.”
Additionally, recent assessment results showed how dramatically the pandemic has impacted learning in Arizona, with English and math scores plummeting for students across the state. The Summer Learning Camp initiative will address these gaps - at no cost to Arizona families - by providing students the support they need to get back on track ahead of next school year.
“...come June, we’re launching a summer camp – With an emphasis on catching kids up in key areas: Math, Reading and American civics,” he continued. “We will lead the way to eliminate learning loss. And in case you haven’t checked twitter lately: Arizona schools are open and they will remain open.”
Governor Ducey is working with educators, schools and families to connect kids who need extra support with eight-week math, reading and civics summer camps in urban and rural areas across the state. The camps will be offered through a partnership with schools and other community organizations.
To qualify for the free summer camp, a student must:
Have a demonstrated need for academic support, with an emphasis placed on serving students who scored below "proficient" on the Spring 2021 AZM2 (Arizona's Measurement of Educational Readiness to Inform Teaching) Assessment. Additional metrics will be used to identify eligibility for students in grades that do not take the AZM2.
Attend an Arizona public school.
Priority will be given to students qualifying for free or reduced price meals. The instruction will be educational, engaging and in-person. Teachers from across the state will be invited to participate, and will be offered competitive compensation along with professional development opportunities. Transportation options will be available to students in need.
Governor Ducey is allocating dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund the summer learning camps and ensure parents of students in need can access them free of charge.
On March 3, 2021, Governor Ducey announced a data-driven plan requiring public schools to resume teacher-led, in-person instruction. The action further advocated to close the achievement gap and keep students in the classroom.
On August 17, 2021, in addition to the Education Recovery Benefit program, Governor Ducey announced the Education Plus Up Grant program, aimed at boosting per pupil spending. Under the program, all district and charter schools that kept doors open for Arizona’s students and followed all state laws, would be eligible for $163 million in grant funding.
Governor Ducey also announced $64.9 million in state and federal funding for programs that improve K-12 literacy, support adult education and expand teacher professional development.
On August 18, 2021, Arizona invested $20 million to strengthen school choice opportunities for kids and families in rural communities and all areas of the state. The Arizona Transportation Modernization Grants program aimed to improve access to reliable and safe transportation for K-12 students.
On November 9, 2021, Governor Ducey announced an investment of $1.25 million to support mentorship programs for at-risk youth and training programs for parents of underrepresented families. As students faced time away from their classrooms, they missed opportunities for mentorship. The funding will help expand existing in-school mentoring as well as college and career readiness programs.
On November 15, 2021, an additional $375,000 was allocated for after-school programs that help promote healthy choices and encourage social engagement among kids of rural areas and underserved communities.
On December 28, 2021, Governor Ducey met with Black Mothers Forum Founder Janelle Wood and board members to discuss efforts to expand school choice in Arizona and ways to continue removing barriers for families.
On January 4, 2022, Governor Ducey announced the creation of the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program to provide relief for parents who may face financial and educational barriers due to unexpected school closures.