By Todd Dykes, WLWT
When August arrives, Mona Metwelly's son will be a first-grader at Fairview-Clifton German Language School. Between now and then, he'll spend all this month being a CPS Summer Scholar.
"His reading is not, like, too much good. So, this is why I take a summer course," Metwelly said.
Metwelly's son will join about 12,000 other Cincinnati public students in classrooms through the end of June. They'll spend their weekdays immersed in school work that may have been lacking because of COVID-19.
"This is not the summer school of yesteryear," Dr. Dawn Williams said. "This is a re-imagined Summer Scholars program and we're so excited about it."
In addition to academics, Williams, who is the Curriculum Math Manager for Cincinnati Public Schools, said students will also have a chance to take meditation breaks.
"For the first time ever, families, community, we heard you," Williams said during a recent parent question-and-answer meeting. "You wanted to make sure that our students had an opportunity for some social, emotional learning, and we have included that in our Summer Scholars Program."
The free, full-day program will happen at schools throughout the district. It's being paid for, in part, by federal pandemic relief dollars.
Morning sessions will focus on academics while afternoons will be reserved for enrichment activities.
"I've seen martial arts. I've seen think gardening, cooking clubs, STEAM activities," said Casey Fisher, manager of CPS' Community Learning Center. "And so our students will definitely be able to still enjoy their summer as part of summer scholars."
That sounds good to Metwelly, who hopes Summer Scholars is a springboard to a more normal fall semester.
"I think that they make all their effort to make them better," she said.
CPS Board Member Mike Moroski called the Summer Scholars program the most progressive thing he's seen during his time on the board. He said he wants to keep the program in place "far into the future."