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Summer Programming Begins For Thousands Of Students Across Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- This week, summer programming began for thousands of students across the City of Philadelphia.

Inside Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School in North Philadelphia, these fifth-grade students are dividing fractions and sharpening their math skills, preparing for sixth grade.

At first, it wasn't how 10-year-old Yasmeen Burgin wanted to spend her summer.

"Because I just thought it would be boring, but now, it's kind of fun," Yasmeen said.

Now, after only four days, Yasmeen is eager to learn and she's one of about 14,000 students across the Philadelphia School District taking part in summer programming.

"I'm learning division, I'm learning millions and billions and I'm learning to add," Duvessa Teti said.

In the morning, students in all grade levels are focusing heavily on academics, and in the afternoon, it's geared more toward activities and building a social-emotional connection.

The district says it can't compare the number of students enrolled this summer to prior years because this program only began in 2021.

"Kindergarten through 7th grade was new last year and this year," said Dr. Malika Brooks, chief academic support officer with the school district. "Prior to that we only had the summer bridge and credit recovery and EFY programming for students."

The district's chief academic support officer says since the pandemic summer programming has been expanded, focusing on filling learning gaps and better preparing students for the next school year so they don't fall behind.

"We are encouraging them to continue to come to summer programming every day," Brooks said.

Yasmeen says she's enjoying the time with friends and already looking forward to the fall.

"When I go to sixth grade, I'll learn more and I'll know all the questions," Yasmeen said.

The summer programming will last for five weeks until the end of July.

The school calendar has been approved and the first day of class is set for Aug. 29.

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