DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Last school year, as Durham Public Schools headed into summer learning the focus was salvaging what was upended by COVID1-9.

“Last year (it was) kind of a make it up, time to wrap up an abrupt school year,” said Chanel Sidbury who works for the school district.

But this year is different.

“This summer, we are wrapping our arms around our kids. We know there are students that have learning loss. I hate that term, but yes. They have not had an opportunity to learn as much compared to previous years,” explained Sidbury.

“So, this summer we are really working on acceleration. We want to meet students where they are,” she stated.

Sidbury is the executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction for Durham Public Schools. She said a key part of the school system’s Operation Summer Learning is making sure students are prepared mentally.

“Summer programs are going to reacclimate students to the school experience,” Sidbury said.

Which she said means a more hands-on learning approach.

Operation Summer Learning consists of more than two dozen sites. It will also have a teacher-student ratio of one to 12. More than 10,000 students will be in the program.

Sidbury said they are also looking to fill about 100 teacher positions as part of the program.

“The challenge is competition. We have a competitive wage. So, perhaps a teacher’s salary is $25 per hour. The participate in summer programs it’s $40 an hour. The challenge is competition for the best and the brightest teachers that can staff these summer programs,” she explained.

For information on the program, click here.