San Diego Unified summer program sees huge increase with 30K students enrolled

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Thirty-thousand students are now enrolled in the Level Up SD learning summer program, organizers announced Monday.

During a press conference held at Wilson Middle School in the City Heights neighborhood, representatives from the San Diego Unified School District and other organizations said enrollment is up 1,500% in the program, also dubbed “A Summer of Learning and Joy.”

Richard Barrera, president of the SDUSD Board, said Monday that Level Up SD means that “this will be a summer like no other” for thousands of students.

Level Up SD is free and available to all K-12 students. Along with summer school classes in the morning, the program also offers activities such as guitar lessons and drone flying.

SDUSD and the San Diego Foundation created the $31 million Level Up program this year as a way to provide students with summer learning and prepare them academically and emotionally for a regular school year in the fall.

According to Level Up organizers, the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed youth centers and disrupted services, highlighted and worsened existing inequalities for students.

The recently renovated Wilson Middle School is one of dozens of campuses hosting Level Up classes. David Downey, Wilson’s principal, said the school “is a great example of what can be done with community support, and Level Up SD is a great example of what can be done for San Diego Unified students with school district support.”

Nonprofit organizations hosting summer programs at Wilson include Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, Reality Changers, and San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory Summer Sights & Sounds.

San Diego Unified students registered for free Level Up SD programs with organizations including Girls Scouts San Diego, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego, Junior Achievement of San Diego, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Elementary Institute of Science, YMCA and La Jolla Playhouse.

Dr. Michael Remson, president and CEO of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, said his group is grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate the students and their music-making and art at an in-person Concert and Gallery Night later this summer.

The San Diego Foundation, in partnership with SDUSD, awarded over $6.7 million in grants to local nonprofits to offer students a learning opportunities.

“Our nonprofit partners have done a tremendous amount of work to design experiences that will enrich children’s lives this summer, as well as recover from this difficult year,” said Pamela Gray Payton, an executive with The San Diego Foundation.

Barrera said anyone still interested in signing their child up for the summer learning program can do so by visiting levelupsandiego.org or contacting their school.

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