School's in for the summer

Today is the first day of summer school for students in the Philadelphia School District.

The SLAM program - Summer Learning and More - runs for 18 days in 103 schools around the city.  According to a news release, the district “plans to enroll 28,000 for the 2011 session of SLAM.”

Students attend academic classes in the morning and enrichment classes — dance and other arts, technology, science, and other subjects — in the afternoon. 

Breakfast and lunch are provided.

The district has budgeted $18 million to pay for summer school.  (The district had planned on spending $23 million initially, but that figure has been revised.) But questions were raised about the wisdom of such an outlay on the program when the district faces a massive budget shortfall.

Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman has defended summer school as a proven way to keep students’ achievement from sliding.

SLAM runs until July 28.  Students are still being accepted; call 215-400-4000 for more information.

Are you a SLAM teacher, student or parent?  What do you think of the program?  What are you hoping to learn this summer? I’d love to hear from you - or 215-854-5146.