New Summer Recovery Program for Students Launched by San Diego Unified, The San Diego Foundation, and Local Nonprofits

Press Release from The San Diego Foundation

Level Up SD: A Summer of Learning and Joy is expected to help thousands of students recover from months spent indoors and apart from their teachers and friends


The San Diego Unified School District and The San Diego Foundation today announced a new summer learning and enrichment program that will serve thousands of students from across the city. These students spent months indoors and apart from their teachers and friends due to the global pandemic, so the goal of this new program is to help them level up for next year through a summer of learning and joy.

The recovery program is called, Level Up SD, a Summer of Learning and Joy. It features in-person classroom instruction in the mornings at neighborhood schools with San Diego Unified teachers and afternoon activities and enrichment offered through numerous nonprofits. There is no cost to families for the classroom instruction or the enrichment programs, made possible by the San Diego Unified Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant. To be eligible for #LevelUpSD, students must be enrolled in San Diego Unified for the 2021-2022 school year.

Summer school generally is offered to a select group of struggling students. Level Up SD is open to all K-12 students. This means thousands of kids from every corner of our community can now take advantage of summer school and opportunities beyond the classroom, like learning to kayak or learning to fly a drone, for the first time.

“This is an example of what we call, ‘Better SD.’ The San Diego community is working together to provide our students with the summer experience they deserve,” said San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten. “In addition to a robust academic curriculum, students participating in Level Up SD will have the opportunity to engage in enrichment activities of their choosing to complement their school day. We’re excited to partner with The San Diego Foundation and all the incredible nonprofits in the region that can offer a broad spectrum of experiences and memories for our students.”

Next month, after nonprofit programs have been vetted and selected, parents will be able to enroll their children in the afternoon enrichment programs as well as the in-person morning course work through a new website: www.LevelUpSanDiego.org. At this time, the website includes an interest list for parents, who will be alerted when enrollment begins. The website will be searchable in English and Spanish.

“Level Up SD nonprofits will offer students a sense of hope, belonging and anticipation to help every child flourish for the coming school year,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “This is an opportunity to change the learning landscape and reimagine summer, because the future for these students is shaped well beyond school hours.”

Overall, $5 million in funding will be granted to nonprofits that offer afternoon summer enrichment programming responsive to the needs of San Diego Unified students most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The opportunities will accelerate student learning and support their wellbeing, knowledge and skills through the summer.

The San Diego Foundation will administer and manage the Level Up SD grants program. Nonprofit community-based organizations, district-managed schools and municipalities offering summer enrichment programs are encouraged to apply for grants ranging from $10,000 – $500,000 for new, expanded and current programs. The deadline for applications is Friday, April 30 by 5 p.m.

Summer enrichment experiences may include academic tutoring; exposure to career pathways and internships; outdoor nature experiences; sports & fitness; STEM and STEAM related; performing and musical arts; visual & media arts; and reading & writing. Programs are for the June – August 2021 timeframe.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted and exacerbated existing inequalities for students. Given the disruption to in person instruction and closure of youth-serving community centers and services, there is an increased need for summertime learning environments to accelerate learning and address the social-emotional needs of youth, especially for those student groups most impacted by COVID-19.

Level Up SD grants are expected to:

  • Support student learning to increase or maintain academic progress
  • Prepare students for success in their post-secondary and career pathways
  • Provide spaces for social and emotional well-being for students
  • Renew and cultivate supportive peer relationships
  • Activate communities and natural resources as places of discovery and learning
  • Expose students to diverse mentors, role models and career pathways
  • Celebrate talent and provide opportunities for creative youth development
  • Offer opportunities to engage in sports and other physical activities
  • Provide culturally affirming and nurturing spaces
  • Increase family, caregiver and/or community engagement in student well-being and academic preparedness

About San Diego Unified School District

With some 100,000 students and approximately 14,000 employees, San Diego Unified School District is California’s second-largest school district. San Diego Unified is a leader among urban districts when it comes to academic performance, equity and financial stability. San Diego Unified has outpaced every other participating urban district in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests. San Diego Unified is a majority-minority district (53 percent Latino and African American) and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of all students qualify for subsidized school meals based on family income. San Diego Unified is home to the largest military installation in the nation, creating unique demands on its educational programs, including its Early Learning program. San Diego Unified provides extensive wrap-around services for families. Learn more at sandiegounified.org.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in our region. For more than 45 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.3 billion to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen our San Diego community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.

Contacts

Maureen Magee, San Diego Unified School District, mmagee@sandi.net
Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation, theresan@sdfoundation.org