ST. PAUL, Minn. -- While school is out for the summer, students in the St. Paul school district continue to learn in huge numbers.
Last year 8,000 students enrolled in summer school. This year enrollment boomed to 13,000, according to Jon Peterson, a principal on special assignment for the office of alternative education.
To put that in perspective Anoka-Hennepin, the state's largest school district, served almost 5,000 students in its summer program last year. That number stayed flat this summer.
Peterson credits the increase in enrollment to more outreach and re-branding of summer school. Instead of calling it "summer school" the school opted for "summer term."
"To give it more of a thinking forward feel kind of analogous to J-term at the college level," Peterson said.
The district also added a dozen new programs, like "Why Try," a social and emotional curriculum designed to help students increase their self-esteem and increase how they think about themselves and others.
Peterson said the hope is to prevent summer learning loss and give students a competitive edge to close the achievement gap in the fall.
"Ultimately we want to get to a point where we can say, 'summer term helps to close the gap,'" he said.