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More students signing up for summer programs as school returns to normal

After months of virtual and hybrid learning students are excited to go to school, even in the summer.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's the little things that mean the most.

"The bumps on the school bus. It just feels so good when I hit the bump," said fourth-grader Nate Ashley.

The feel of getting back to school, even in the summer, is welcome by more students in Jefferson County this year.

After months of virtual and hybrid learning, student Rohan Pawan Mirsky  said it's, "Absolutely better!"

"I just like seeing my friends in in-person," added fourth-grader Peyton Bernstein 

All of these students are attending a program called "Lit &" where students focus on literature and other fun activities, from robotics to swimming.

Then, there's the summer backpack league which JCPS started two years ago with one location and 1,000 students. This coming Monday, the six-week program will start at over 20 locations, with over 6,000 students registered.

RELATED: JCPS kicks off 2021 Summer Meal program

"We wanted to make sure that we first reached out to our students who were not as engaged during our non-traditional instruction and maybe struggled some throughout the school year," said Renee Murphy, Chief Communications Officer for JCPS. "We reached out to them first so they could engage in the program, offer them the opportunity. Then we opened it up to all of our students."

High interest in summer educational programs isn't exclusive to Louisville. Hardin County has expanded programming to bring in nearly 2,000 summer students. Shelby County brought on a gardening program, agricultural science, Discover Kentucky, and more to engage students that may have been harder to reach for parts of the school year. 

"This summer is not only full of learning but it's full of joy. We are seeing a lot of smiles and those are unmasked smiles," said Chief Academic Officer Susan Dugle.

The districts are excited, but it's not a perfect summer for everyone. There are still students like third-grader Riley Roberts who say they'd be happier at home, asleep.

But, as Roberts said, "It's okay."

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