HARTFORD–Members of Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation, Governor Ned Lamont, and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker on Monday announced that the Connecticut State Department of Education is releasing $11.5 million from its share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to continue its highly successful Summer Enrichment Program in summer 2023 and summer 2024. In 2021, Murphy secured a dedicated set-aside in the education funding in the American Rescue Plan for summer enrichment programs.
The Summer Enrichment Program was created in 2021 in an effort to connect students whose education may have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to high-quality enrichment opportunities when they are out of school during the summer months, including at summer camps, childcare centers, and other similar programs, with a priority for those in communities that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The state continued the program in 2022. With the release of this additional funding for 2023 and 2024, Connecticut will have dedicated $32 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding over four years for students’ summer enrichment programming. Since its creation, the program has provided funding to more than 400 organizations in Connecticut that offer summer learning opportunities.
“Every kid deserves a positive, fun summer – not just the kids whose family can afford it. I’m so proud the funding I secured in the American Rescue Plan will continue to support Connecticut’s Summer Enrichment Program for the next two years and ensure more kids from low-income backgrounds don’t get left behind,” said Murphy.
“Summer enrichment programs are a vital resource for children and parents, creating opportunities to sustain learning and engagement with friends all summer long. I am so proud to see federal dollars being invested in Connecticut youth and look forward to the continued success that these programs will bring,” said Blumenthal.
“Investing in our children’s future is a priority for Connecticut. With this investment, we can extend this successful program for another two years and ensure that more of Connecticut’s children have access to summer enrichment and learning opportunities, regardless of their family’s income level. This program is helping provide a safe and enriching summer experience for our kids and will benefit our communities for years to come,” said Lamont.
“Our independent research shows that our investments in summer enrichment programming have been effective in expanding access to summer programming and energizing and engaging students. Summer enrichment programming helps students reengage with their peers, adults, as well as provide them with enriching social and mentally stimulating opportunities to prepare them for return to school after summer vacation. I commend Governor Lamont and the Connecticut General Assembly for this investment to grow and expand this program into 2024. Such sustained investments in programs that work will ensure a comprehensive and accelerated learning recovery,” said Russell-Tucker.
“We passed the American Rescue Plan in Congress to support our children. Summer enrichment has played a key role to keep students engaged both socially and academically, especially as they make up for lost classroom time during the pandemic. I am thrilled to join Governor Lamont today to announce the continuation of the Summer Enrichment Program for two more years,” said Larson.
“The American Rescue Plan is historic and transformative, proving that the federal government can have a real impact on working families, and not just the wealthy and big corporations. This funding is creating meaningful summer enrichment for children and families in Connecticut. The pandemic had a serious impact on our children, and our towns need resources to support outreach efforts such as interdisciplinary educational programs, humanities enrichment, and exciting activities to help them recover. I am proud to see this funding utilized to build up educational development, cultural curiosity, and recreation for families,” said DeLauro.
“Kids deserve to be kids, and thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we are opening opportunities to promote summer fun and learning for the children of Connecticut. The Summer Enrichment Program offers high-quality youth programming to keep students socially and academically engaged throughout their summer vacation. We must leverage every tool possible so children may continue to heal emotionally and mentally from the unseen impacts of the pandemic. I applaud Governor Lamont for directing federal funding to improve the lives of children and expand this program into 2024,” said Hayes.
Applications from organizations that want to participate in the program in 2023 and 2024 are now being accepted by the State Department of Education. To apply, visit portal.ct.gov/SDE/COVID19/AccelerateCT/Summer-Enrichment. Applications must be submitted no later than April 3, 2023.
Similar to the prior two years, the program will award funding to the most competitive summer programs. For 2023 and 2024, applicants can apply for either two expansion grants (up to $50,000 each, for a maximum of $100,000) or two innovation grants (up to $150,000 each, for a maximum of $300,000) per program site. Camps must use the funds to expand the number of students served, subsidize enrollment costs by providing scholarships, or provide transportation for program participants.
The Connecticut State Department of Education will host a virtual information session for interested grant applicants on March 16, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. Registration is required. A video recording of the session will be published on the Summer Enrichment website shortly after its conclusion.
An independent evaluation of the 2021 program concluded that the initiative successfully connected more than 108,000 Connecticut students with summertime enrichment opportunities. A similar evaluation of the 2022 program is expected to be released soon.
Connecticut families seeking to enroll their children in summer programs this year will soon be able to browse available opportunities online by visiting summerct.org. A listing of opportunities for 2023 will be published on that website in the coming weeks as the summer season approaches.