MPS summer-school enrollment low, despite the goal of early start schools

Some Milwaukee Public Schools get out for summer vacation Friday because dozens of schools that shifted to “early start” now end the year earlier.

A lot of working parents are still scrambling to figure out what they’re going to do with their kids. Most summer camps don’t start for another month. But, MPS is trying to get their attention. 

The early start calendar change is meant to help get more students back on track. It also gives others a head start or advantage on advanced placement and standardized testing.

“We wanted to give students the maximum amount of school time to help them succeed,” said Dr. John Hill, the Director of College and Career Readiness for Milwaukee Public Schools.  “Mainly, through a June and July summer school program.”

But out of approximately 25,000 students at MPS early start schools, only about 3,800 of them are signed-up for summer school. 

“We know it’s early, and a lot of people wait to the last minute to sign up their kids,” Hill said. “But we have room for a lot more students, and would like to see more families utilize summer school.”

We talked with three middle-school students who will be back for summer school, after doing it for the first time last year.

“Who wants to go to school in the summer, like nobody,” said July Paw.

“I didn’t really like it at first,” said Quinn O’Keefe. 

But now, they do see the benefit.

“When I get to high school, I’ll have extra credits,” said Naia Mims. “When I get credits earlier, I can start taking some college credits in high school. That will go toward my college, which means I won’t have to spend as much money.”

MPS summer school is a shorter day, with more computer work. Field trips are included, and students get free breakfast and lunch.

Even so, summer school enrollment not where it should be. Parents can still enroll their children. The first class is on June 4. 

Families looking for alternatives don’t have many. Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, and other community organizations don’t start summer camps and programming until mid-June. 

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