Parents are still fighting for seats on NYC’s Summer Rising program

Families were still fighting for spots on New York City’s free summer program for schoolchildren Tuesday after the initiative reopened for the season with additional capacity.

More than 30 families were turned away Tuesday morning in Brooklyn despite being assigned a site for the popular Summer Rising initiative.

“I have nowhere to send my son for the summer now,” said Monique Yearwood, a charter school parent assigned to Norma Adams Clemons Academy in Flatbush.

“I had to find alternative childcare for this morning,” she added.

Now in its second year, Summer Rising has expanded to 110,000 elementary and middle school students from 98,000 last year, city officials said.

But the Departments of Education and Youth and Community Development were still struggling to keep up with demand for the program, which is priced at around $350 million.

Summer Rising program
More than 30 families were turned away in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Stephen Yang

“Nothing was resolved,” said Yearwood, a dental hygienist at Kings County Hospital, who was more than an hour late for work after dealing with the last-minute job site refusal.

After The Post asked for comment on the specific situation, the DOE told Yearwood that her son could still join the program.

Officials apologized for the incident and ensured the district superintendent will be available tomorrow morning “to ensure things run smoothly.”

“Every student registered on this site has a spot,” said Jenna Lyle, a spokeswoman for the DOE.

Other families who couldn’t get into the program were still hoping someone else would drop out.

Vlad Fruman, a Staten Island resident, said his 8-year-old son was banned from the Summer Rising site in Richmond County, just two days after the registration deadline began this spring. He also tried in mid-June when he was told there might be places available at the local level, and on the last day of school.

“Today the program started and I asked about available places – but no one answered,” said Fruman.

Summer Rising program
The city added 12,000 places to the program in its second year.
Stephen Yang

For now, the Frumans plan to send their son to a summer camp in Vermont ā€” which doesn’t include academics and lasts just two weeks.

The city program, meanwhile, offers morning academics through licensed teachers and enriching activities such as arts, sports and afternoon field trips through community groups.

“We feel like he’s not getting enough education during the year that it would be great for him to go to the next grade in the summer with more education,” Fruman told The Post.

“It’s not an excuse for offering a program but not having available places,” he said.

Advocates continued Tuesday to monitor how the city would address the special needs of some students, such as children with disabilities or living in homeless shelters.

Last year’s Summer Rising was criticized for not being accessible to these students, which the Adams administration acknowledged when it announced the revised program this spring.

Eric Adams
Mayor Adams hopes the program will expand to better serve students with diverse needs.

“What good is a great program if kids who really need it can’t have access to it?” Mayor Eric Adams said in March. “We need to address the issues we’ve heard about from previous years.”

Some of these problems still existed on the first day of the program.

“The bus showed up this morning, but there wasn’t a paraprofessional there,” said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children of one of the families who work with the advocacy group.

“So the kid wasn’t allowed on the bus,” she said. Parents are still fighting for seats on NYC’s Summer Rising program


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