Connecticut will use $11 million from the American Rescue Plan funds to expand summer learning enrichment programs for children in the state.
Gov. Ned Lamont made the announcement during a news conference Wednesday morning.
The money will be used particularly for children who have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the governor’s office.
The state plans to launch a grant application process to award expansion and innovation grants with the goal of providing summer learning programs this year to students who would not otherwise have access to one.
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“After a challenging school year for so many students, our goal with this funding is for all kids to be able to access the terrific summer camps, child care centers, and other summer programs that our state has to offer,” Gov. Lamont said. “By expanding access and lowering barriers that have precluded students from prior participation, we can help ensure that students have a fun and educational summer with their peers and are set up for success in the fall. I want to especially thank our own Senator Chris Murphy, whose fervent advocacy of summer enrichment funding has made this all possible.”
He said he and his team hope to go door to door and school to school to talk with parents and children about a summer camp program available free of charge.
“These grants will allow us to innovate, create, and collaborate to provide our students with quality, evidence-based programming that will enhance learning and enrichment opportunities outside of the traditional classroom setting,” Connecticut Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker said in a statement. “Leveraging the assets that already exist throughout Connecticut, we can provide engaging, hands-on, and transformative experiences to help children build connections with their peers, access services to address their social-emotional and mental health needs, and continue learning every day, everywhere to prepare for a successful transition this fall.”
State officials said the six-week program would include a mix of classroom and experiential learning, serving potentially 24,000 students from elementary schools to high schools across the state.
Expansion grants will specifically be focused on local organizations, who can apply for up to $25,000. The money can be used to serve more children or subsidize costs.
Innovation grants will go towards organizations that can provide "bold and innovative summer programming" either regionally or statewide. Up to $250,000 in grants per organization are available.
The funding will come part of the American Rescue Plan Act that is allocated to the state Department of Education.
More information on the grant programs and how to apply will be made available by the state in the coming days.