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Minneapolis summer-school programs to offer extra services

Debris may soon be gone from north Minneapolis’ streets, but the emotional aftermath of the tornado that tore through a number of neighborhoods two weeks ago will last for months or even years, said Rachel Hicks, Minneapolis Public Schools’ assistant director of public affairs.

For affected families, summer looms long and hot, and the district is poised to help. Damage to a number of MPS buildings notwithstanding, summer school and community education will go on as planned.

In addition to the activities already scheduled, MPS plans to serve two meals a day at a number of sites and is making plans to have student support-services personnel on hand to keep tabs on issues families may need help with.

If something is making it hard for an eligible kid to take advantage of the offerings, district staff wants to hear what the problem is.

“Once summer school starts we’ll look at participation,” said Hicks. “If it drops, we’ll do outreach to make sure there are no barriers to attendance. And if there are, we’ll need to learn what they are and figure out how to address them.”

Many programs run four days a week at several sites. Youth 11-14 can participate in either of two hip-hop camps. Third- through eighth-graders can sign up for an arts program that will include theater, dance, photography, visual arts and yoga.

Other offerings include canoeing, rock climbing and, alas, academic skills. There are even programs for adults and preschoolers.

The city’s disaster-recovery center is scaling back its operations starting today, but MPS staff plan to have a presence at as many community events as possible in the hope of attracting maximum participation.

The district is confident there’s space for anyone who’s interested. For more information call 612-668-5388.

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