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Coachella Valley school districts gear up for summer school following academic year impacted by Covid-19

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At Rancho Mirage High School, one student we spoke with says she's fortunate she won't need to take summer classes but knows other who do.

"It's been pretty difficult for most kids but I mean summer school is gonna help a lot of us because distance learning is hard for some of us," said 10th grader Brianna Sanchez. 

For students who do need the help, they and their parents will be glad to know that both Palm Springs Unified School District and Desert Sands Unified School District tell us they're doubling their budgets for summer school, to significantly expand class offerings including remedial instruction.

"We want to make sure that we are addressing the academic side of it and filling in the area of deficiencies students may have," said Dr. Deanna Kuelian, PSUSD's Director of College and Career Readiness. 

Kuelian says part of what is different in her district this summer is a significantly expanded course offering for elementary school students in addition to courses offered to middle school students and high schoolers.

Much of the extra programming made available by extra state and federal funds to help students make up for "deficiencies" as a result of learning during a pandemic. 

The same applies to the Desert Sands Unified School District.

"A lot of kids struggled along during the course of the year and when they came back to in-person some of them were in a hole and they were trying to pull themselves out and a lot did," said Dr. Marcus Wood, DSUSD's Senior Director for Secondary Curriculum. 

Wood says the students most in need of summer support include English language learners and students with disabilities.

He says the district is offering extra programs to help them.

Both PSUSD and DSUSD representatives say the great majority of summer instruction will take place in person, but both say distance learning will be made available upon request.

Some districts in California are reportedly having trouble finding enough teachers for summer school because many educators say they simply need a break from a very challenging year.

Both districts have been able to fill their summer teaching positions, but filling some high school teaching positions has proven to be a bit more challenging. 

CVUSD did not respond to our requests for information.

Students and parents are advised to check school website's for summer school enrollment information. 

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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