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After low test scores and attendance, 15,000 enroll for summer programs in Fort Worth ISD, 6,000 in Dallas ISD

Enrollment in Fort Worth ISD summer programs is roughly triple its pre-pandemic level.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Fort Worth ISD and Dallas ISD have thousands of students enrolled in summer programs designed to catch students up on learning missed during a school year filled with COVID-created obstacles.

India McCreary’s sixth- and eighth-graders at William James Middle School are just two of more than 15,000 Fort Worth ISD students in the district’s ‘Summer Launch’ program.

“They were scared to go to school because they didn’t want to get sick, but they couldn’t do anything with trying to learn online,” McCreary said. “It was pretty hard just because when we first started school, they hard to share Chromebooks.”

District Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner points out participation in the summer program is nearly three times higher than it was in 2019 when 5,800 students enrolled.

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“We need a comprehensive approach focusing on those students with the greatest need,” Scribner said Monday. “We understand it’ll be a year of recovery. We really want to invest in our students so that they can recover from the learning loss time.”

Monday, the TEA revealed schools across the state and in Fort Worth saw a major decline in STAAR test scores, particularly in Math. Only English didn’t see significant declines.

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In Fort Worth, K-8 summer learning will be all in-person with a virtual option for high school students depending on test scores.

In Dallas ISD, 5,300 students have enrolled in the district’s ‘Summer Breeze’ K-8 program with 900 teachers participating, and they’ll have extracurricular programs, too.

“The whole has just been really, really rough for them,” McCreary said. “They’re going to have to do like speed learning to get caught up with what’s going on in summer school.” 

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Early in the pandemic, district leaders said efforts to keep kids safe would likely lead to many falling behind. Now, educators and families are just trying to get back on track.

“If we don’t catch them up, they will fall further and further behind in fact these students are going to need to make a year and a half growth,” Scribner said.