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Massachusetts To Spend $70 Million On Summer School Learning And Recreation Programs

CANTON (CBS) - Massachusetts is spending $70 million to help school districts launch summer learning programs to help students catch up after more than a year of disruptions because of the pandemic.

Governor Charlie Baker made the announcement on the acceleration academies at a news conference Friday morning at the Galvin Middle School in Canton.

State Education Commissioner Jeff Riley said it will be a multi-year program and not a "one and done" situtation.

"Under this plan, students at every grade level will have opportunities to take part in a mix of academic and recreational programs," the governor told reporters. "I think it's crucial to give people these learning opportunities and to get kids a chance to participate in them across Massachusetts."

The summer school programs will include literacy lessons for incoming kindergarteners, and rising first and second graders. There will also be math lessons for rising third, fourth, eighth and tenth graders.

Students will be in small classes with individualized attention and project-based lessons.

The state will also offer grants to school districts to provide four-to-six week programs that are in-person and offer both academic and recreational activities.

Schools can also use the grants to enhance or expand their existing summer programs. Mental health services will be provided and there will be additional support for students with Individualized Education Plans and those learning English.

Students graduating high school this year will also have the chance to take math and English classes for credit that are free and help them get ready for college in the fall.

"I think it's fair to say that we all know it's been a long and challenging year for teachers, administrators, parents, and students and kids of all ages," Baker said. "While we obviously can't make up for all the days that have been lost, the classroom celebrations that have been missed, we can make up for some of the missed learning opportunities."

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