In-Person Summer Learning to Support Student Success and a Strong Start to 2021-22 School Year

Published on June 25, 2021

Statement

TORONTO — Today, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement on 2021 summer learning opportunities for Ontario students:

“To further promote student academic success, to reduce learning gaps, and to ensure that students are fully engaged in their studies, Ontario has expanded summer learning to the largest program ever in our history.

We are allocating over $62 million in funding for summer learning programming and expanded offerings to prepare students with the knowledge and skills for success in the next grade, course, or postsecondary destination.

School boards are delivering virtual summer programming in July. To build upon this, and with the support of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are permitting school boards to offer in-person summer school in August with strict health and safety measures in place.

We are pleased with the high rate of vaccinations in Ontario, with over 76 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and older having received one dose, and over 29 per cent with two doses. More than 53 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose. We will continue to ramp up vaccination efforts ahead of September to deliver a safe, and more normal in-person learning experience.

Our government is focused on supporting students who may face learning gaps as a consequence of this pandemic. That is why we developed an $85 million plan to help them recover from learning disruptions with a focus on positive mental health, math and reading supports, re-engaging students, as well as $80 million in specialized mental health supports and staffing for the 2021-22 school year.

For the new school year, we are providing more than $1.6 billion to protect against COVID-19, and, with continued investments in infrastructure to improve ventilation and the health and safety of schools, we are taking concrete action that will keep kids safe and allow them to get back in classrooms where they belong.”

BACKGROUND

Summer Learning

  • In support of safe in-person summer learning opportunities, the Ministry of Education will require the continuation of public health and safety measures that were in place throughout the 2020-21 school year.
  • Parents are encouraged to contact their local school board to find out what is being offered in their school community.
  • $62 million in funding is being provided for summer 2021 learning programming and expanded offerings to support continuity of learning to prepare students with the knowledge and skills for success in the next grade, course or postsecondary destination.
  • Summer learning opportunities are available in English and French and can include:
    • co-op courses
    • credit recovery
    • summer school credit courses
    • reach ahead credits for Grade 8 students
    • literacy and numeracy support programs
    • Indigenous and international language programs
    • supports for Black youth
    • supports for Indigenous youth
    • mental health supports outdoor learning programs and STEM education programs.
  • The Ministry of Education is also expanding access to summer learning for 2021 for First Nations students by proposing changes to the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) regulations. This means that fees shall not be charged for summer learning opportunities for the following students: 
    • First Nations students, including students over the age of 21, who are already students of the school board via the Reciprocal Education Approach or Education Service Agreements, as well as First Nations students who will be registering with the school board in September 2021; and
    • First Nations students, including students over 21, who are enrolled in First Nation/federally-operated schools.
  • Additional staffing is available to support students with special education needs to participate in summer offerings and funding for summer transition programs for students with special education needs or students with mental health needs. This funding would allow school boards to hire up to an additional 1,910 teachers for one month in the summer.
  • Summer learning places a special emphasis on connecting programs with the communities they are situated in. Nearby colleges, universities, businesses, conservation areas, community organizations, Indigenous community leaders and more can all play a role in enriching the summer learning experience.

Tutoring Supports

  • Supporting one-on-one online tutoring services throughout the summer and year ahead through Mathify in math for English-language students in grades 6 to 10 and through Eureka! in all subjects for French-language students in grades 1 to 12. To date, over 85,000 students have accessed these services annually.
  • For 2021-22, Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) provides up to $29.3 million to support equity initiatives in schools for at-risk or marginalized students.
  • Providing $8.5 million through the Tutoring Allocation of the Learning Opportunities Grant in the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) for school boards to design and structure tutoring programs to best fit the needs of their students. This funding is available to support all students when they require tutoring supports.

Re-engaging Students

  • During the pandemic, some students have increasingly disengaged from learning or school for a variety of reasons. School boards are in the best position to know their students and local actions to support student re-engagement supported by the province.
  • Funding of $20 million is available in the 2021-22 school year to school boards for local actions to support student re-engagement, including Black students, Indigenous students, and students from low-income households, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • Local actions may include, for example, dedicated staff to reach out to individual students and families, working with Indigenous partners and organizations to develop culturally relevant activities that bridge community and school-based learning, and partnering with community organizations to support pathway planning.
  • Ongoing supports are available through the GSN and PPF for key resources, including Student Success Leads, Equity Leads, Indigenous Education Leads, Indigenous Graduation Coaches and Black Graduation Coaches.
  • Renewing extracurricular activities and sports as health measures allow.

Mental Health and Well-Being

  • Unprecedented investments to support student mental health including over $80 million projected for the 2021-22 school year.
  • This includes $35 million in COVID-19 supports to address local priorities that may allow for the hiring of nearly 500 school-based mental health professionals, educator professional learning and collaborating with community mental health providers for students requiring more intensive supports, and student engagement.

Special Education

  • Implementing an early math intervention pilot for students with special education needs in grades 4 to 6 to increase student engagement, address learning gaps, and support students to prepare for de-streamed Grade 9 math.
  • Releasing resources for parents and educators including a remote learning guide for students with special education needs to support students who continue to learn remotely.
  • Increasing the Special Education Grant in the GSN to over $3.21 billion in the 2021-22 school year — the highest investment recorded in Ontario.