Atlanta Public Schools considering making summer school mandatory

One of the metro's largest school districts is debating having mandatory summer school

ATLANTA — Atlanta Public Schools is considering requiring summer school for for most students this June.

The city’s largest district is looking into whether it can legally mandate attendance.

Channel 2′s Tom Jones talked to one parent, who doesn’t think forcing students to go to school over the summer is the answer.

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Kenyette Tisha Barnes has two children in Atlanta public schools. She doesn’t have a problem with the district starting a summer academic recovery academy to help get scores up, but she doesn’t think mandating struggling students to attend the session is a good idea.

“We’ve always had summer school,” Barnes said. “I think the district needs to be a bit more creative in their approach to remediate these students.”

APS said many of its students did not do well in math and English on state tests in 2019.

They fear the numbers will be worse because of disruptions caused by the pandemic. The chief academics officer for the district called it the COVID-19 slide.

The district plans to implement the Summer Academy, which is a 4-hour-a-day, 5-day session where students will get help with math and literacy. It will be offered online and in person.

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Students are encouraged to attend daily sessions, but the district says it is working with its legal department to see if it can make attendance mandatory.

Barnes thinks mandating the sessions will place a heavy burden on parents and students who work and add more stress to already stressed-out students.

“The kids are struggling,” Barnes said. “They are really really struggling.”

Some school board members like the idea, with one saying there is such a need right now with the learning loss.

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