JCPS to Serve more than 10,000 through Summer Learning Programs

Backpack League kicks off today

June 15, 2022 - Jefferson County Public Schools will help more than 10,000 students combat the “summer slide” this year through engaging and fun learning opportunities in June and July. 

The Backpack League is the largest of the summer programs. It kicks off today and will serve more than 7,200 students at JCPS and community sites across the county.

Man sitting with children at desks
 Students will strengthen literacy and numeracy skills, explore their passions and talents, and develop social and emotional skills that are vital to academic success. 

These opportunities allow our scholars to participate in math and reading, plus increase their critical thinking skills with a unique curriculum,” said Michelle Dillard, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. “Keeping our students engaged in summer learning keeps them connected with peers and compassionate educators and accelerates learning.”

Other JCPS summer learning opportunities focus on diversity, equity and poverty (DEP), exceptional child education (ECE), English language learners (ELL), and early childhood. Nearly all camps will incorporate social-emotional development, which is even more critical as students cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The JCPS DEP Department will offer: 

  • Literacy & (Lit &): Theme-based programs that link books and connect standards-based literacy instruction to fun, hands-on programs like fencing, dance or swimming
  • Girls on the R.I.S.E. (Revolutionizing Interpretations through Self-Expression): Literacy and art program for girls of color designed to build strength, confidence and resilience
  • Homeless and Foster Camps: Programs offered in partnership with Americana World Community Center and Adelante Hispanic Achievers
  • Grandmaster’s Camp: Program designed for principles and tactics on managing and maneuvering through life, featuring critical conversations about race, society, feelings and the future

Vanessa McPhail, DEP community affairs specialist, said programs like Lit & help make sure engaging summer programming is accessible to all students.  

“They’re learning while having fun being exposed to things such as fencing, karate, coding, robotics, photography, all the while working on their literacy as well as numeracy skills,” McPhail said. “‘Lit &’ is ultra important because it helps to combat the summer slide as well as keeping kiddos engaged throughout the summer.”

The Early Childhood division’s Camp Ready4K will feature a superhero-themed curriculum targeting kindergarten readiness skills with small group instruction for more than 1,700 rising kindergarten students. Early Childhood will also host Camp Jump Start for 120 three-year-olds. 

Students who are visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, and who attend Churchill Park and Binet schools will strengthen skills in the areas of academics, self-determination and advocacy at Exceptional Child Education (ECE) camps designed specifically around their areas of need.   

Refugees and students who speak English as a second language can access literacy, language and math enrichment at four targeted camps, including two hosted by community partners Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities of Louisville. Newcomer Academy will also provide support for refugees who are 18 and older and at risk of not graduating from high school on time. 

At the Elev8 Student Learning Center on West Broadway, up to 250 students who are struggling academically will receive targeted academic support, enrichment, counseling, and more.

More than 1000 JCPS staff are working at the various camps and summer programming sites this summer.