Danbury will offer a limited summer school program due to staffing issues

DANBURY — Public schools are being forced to scale back their summer school schedule this year due to limited staff.

“We find ourselves in a very difficult position this year,” Superintendent Kevin Walston told the school board on Wednesday.

Danbury will have to start offering summer school again for kindergarten to grade three students only. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the district had invited fourth and fifth graders to summer school.

“Unfortunately, we are not alone in this challenge in terms of personnel, and so we have had to revise our letters and invitations to families,” Walston said.

The exception is the Department of Special Education, which will continue to offer its traditional five-week summer school program, said Kelly Truchsess, assistant superintendent for education and student services.

“Our special education summer school program has not been impacted,” she said.

For other students, two two-week sessions will be offered, rather than one four-week session.

This school year “has been like no other,” which has made burnt-out educators less willing to sign up to teach summer school, Walston said. School officials said they have seen an increase in behavioral issues, among other challenges, as students return to full-time learning this school year.

“Our staff are tired,” he said. “They’re burnt out, our administrators are burnt out, our teachers, our technical staff are burnt out, and I think that’s played out in our interest to work this summer.”

Walston acknowledged that the change will be difficult for families.

“We understand that this is going to be a challenge for many of our families, especially families who rely on childcare over the summer, but unfortunately we are going to need families to make some adjustments,” he said. he declares.

The district would ideally return to an expanded summer school program in the future, he said.

“Hopefully next year it’s going to be more of a normal school year, and we can get back to the typical staffing we’ve had for the past few years,” Walston said.