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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Want to keep your kids busy over the break? Spokane Public Schools gears up for summer programs

Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Adam Swinyard answers questions Tuesday about the district’s summer programs.  (Saydee Phothivongsa/ The Spokesman-Review)
By Saydee Phothivongsa The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Public Schools is offering a variety of summer programs for students from first to 12th grade to keep active and learning during the break.

The school district has been offering a variation of summer programs since the 1980s, but the goal of this summer’s programs is to keep kids socializing, being active and stretching their minds as they adjust to life after the COVID-19 pandemic, said Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Adam Swinyard.

“Kids benefit from social interaction, and we know that coming post-pandemic, we had many of our kids have a significant deterioration in some of those social skills … so repairing those norms and the relationships and the routines of being around others is critical,” he said.

Additionally, summer programs are shown to help prevent summer regression in kids and help make the transition from summer break to school a bit easier, Swinyard said.

Not only do these summer programs benefit kids, but they give parents an option for activities they can take their children to while they are not in school, said Le’Andra Myers, the district’s fitness, athletics and after school programming coordinator.

“As a parent, I understand the critical nature of having something for your students to do in the summer, so being able to get students active and interacting with each other in addition to putting a little learning in there, too, is really important for all our families,” she said.

Among the programs offered are a week-long summer camp for younger students, called Camp Imagine, and a New Tech Prep program for older students where they have the opportunity to earn credit, Myers said.

Camp Imagine is a free, week-long mini camp for incoming first- through fifth-grade students held at various elementary schools across the district, according to the Spokane Public Schools website. The New Tech Prep program runs from June 22 – July 14 and offers a variety of free courses for students such as Intro to Automotive Careers, Intro to Baking, Into to Cyber Security and Intro Health Careers. A full list of the courses can be found on the Spokane Public Schools website.

Program spots are filling up fast, with the Summer Express program already at capacity, and parents are encouraged to sign their students up as soon as possible to ensure they can have that summer experience, she said. The Summer Express program offers full-day, licensed childcare with fun and enriching activities for incoming first through seventh graders, according to the Spokane Public Schools website. The cost for this program is $49 per child, per day and requires a minimum three-week enrollment.

Programs such as Camp Imagine and the 21st Century Community Learning Center are at no cost to families, funded this year by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education School Emergency Relief Fund. Title 1 summer school camps are also at no cost to families and paid for by federal Title 1 funding, said Ryan Lancaster, Spokane Public Schools director of media and marketing.

Spots for athletic camps are unlimited, while all non-athletic camps offer 40-100 spots depending on the capacity of the site where they’re held, he said.

A full list of summer programs can be found on the Spokane Public Schools website at .