Kids make up for lost time during New Britain’s summer enrichment programs


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Taekwondo practice isn’t what you typically see inside a cafeteria. Neither are these TikTok-like dance moves in the classroom.

But honing collaborative skills and inserting fun into learning is the whole point at New Britain Schools’ Summer Enrichment Experience.

“…Learn to be in school again. To learn to work together, to collaborate, to have fun. The most important thing, we believe we brought joy back into the schools,” said Jennifer Wright, Assistant coordinator for summer learning.

The program at Lincoln Elementary serves 250 kids in grades K-3. But across district some one thousand are masked up, back inside classrooms building skills this summer left unnourished through virtual learning.

Superintendent Nancy Sarra helped launch the program 10 years ago. It started as a collaboration between the district and partner agencies like United way. Today, some 15 community partners work alongside educators.

“It’s recover, recover, recover,” said Superintendent Sarra.

To pull this off, Sarra says it costs triple the district’s state allotment for summer enrichment. So, they fundraise year-round. Wednesday they offered funders tours as a way to say thanks.

“It’s enrichment. It’s not remediation,” added Sarra. “That’s a really big difference. We help our kids through enrichment. Not necessarily lowering the ceiling but raising the bar.”

The program gained national recognition in 2018 for innovative programming like using these LEGOs for coding and building.

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