edlee_swornin.jpgMayor Edwin Lee today announced that $250,000 has been secured to pay for summer teachers who will educate about 900 students who did not pass math or English this school year in San Francisco.

Standing on the soccer field at John O’Connell High School, Lee said it was important for local educators to allow students the opportunity to make right a mistake that may keep them from graduating.

“This summer, those 900 kids will not be lost. We will have those summer classes,” he said.

Funding for the 30 summer school teachers came from unspent grant dollars initially intended for other youth-related programs, said Maria Su, director of the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, or DCYF.

“The money that was put into our department to serve children will continue to serve children,” she said.

District Superintendent Carlos Garcia, who also attended today’s news conference, said recent budget cuts have reduced 70 percent of state funding for local schools, leaving summer classes only for 12th graders and special education children.

“Nobody would believe a city like San Francisco–or any city–would step up to help summer school,” he said.

District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said summer school for this year’s ninth-grade class was particularly important because it is San Francisco’s first class that will have to fulfill more strict requirements in order to graduate.

The “A-G” requirements are a list of courses needed in order for a student to successfully enter a University of California or California State University school. The class of 2014 at San Francisco public high schools will be the first class required to complete all A-G courses in order to graduate.

“This sets a higher bar for students,” Blythe said. “There aren’t a lot of other big cities that have taken this on.”

San Jose may be the only other major city in California that has imposed the A-G requirements for students to graduate, Blythe said.

“We’re focusing on creating a culture of students who are prepared for college,” she said.”

In conjunction with summer school, DCYF associates for their 14th year will offer children free lunches from 80 sites across the city, Su said.

The sites are all within walking distance of a school that has 50 percent or more of the children who qualify for a free or reduced-price meal.

The Recreation and Parks Department this summer will offer more than 67 types of summer camp with more than 15,000 openings for students to register, according to the mayor’s office.

This year’s camps include Camp Mather, which serves about 1,150 families and includes activities based in the outdoors; Camp Gourmet, which teaches campers about basic cooking skills; and Arts Camp-Dance Video and World Camp, which allows children to explore their creative talent in dance, music, theater, and technology.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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