CT will allocate federal funds to summer learning expansion, enhancement

Connecticut is allocating $11 million in federal funding to summer programs for students whose learning was affected by the pandemic.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday the state will release American Rescue Plan dollars to support summer enrichment programs for kids of all ages and backgrounds.

“By expanding access and lowering barriers that have precluded students from prior participation, we can help ensure that students have a fun and educational summer with their peers and are set up for success in the fall,” said Lamont.

The governor estimated the funds should support about 24,000 kids, adding that cities and superintendents can match the state’s contribution with their own federal funding sources to broaden the programs’ reach.

“Looking back in life, I remember my summers really well,” said Lamont. “I remember the friendships I made, and some of the things I learned about myself. I don’t remember quite as much about my sophomore year Latin class. So I appreciate what a summer program can mean for people, especially in this year.”


Funding will be available through a competitive grant process focused on expansion and innovation. Local community organizations can apply for grants up to $25,000 to add slots and offer scholarships to families who otherwise might not have access to summer programs. Innovation grants of up to $250,000 are geared toward new or existing programs with regional or statewide reach increasing scale and offerings.

Applications for both grants will be available through the state education department in coming days, according to the governor’s office.

“This funding will be used to expand access to summer camps, childcare centers and other summer programs, so we can ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to succeed and are exposed to learning and enrichment opportunities outside the classroom,” said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz. “This is about creating opportunities that allow our students to have hands-on learning, build connections with older students and teachers — things many of our students were not able to experience while learning remotely during the pandemic.”

While many families in small suburban districts are taking advantage of in-person learning, some city districts have seen just half of students return, according to the governor’s estimates. The state said a new door-knocking initiative will help encourage children most at risk of falling behind to learn alongside their peers this summer.

“The pandemic continues to be a substantial disruption to children’s learning, and also to their interpersonal interactions and social-emotional well-being,” said Acting Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker. “This approach allows us to create new opportunities to access summer enrichment programming, and as importantly, for students to build relationships with their peers and access services that address their social-emotional and mental health needs going forward this summer.”