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Mayor Pushes Enrollment in Middle School Summer Programs

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The mayor has focused on expanding opportunities for students outside of the regular class day and school year, but now, he says, he needs parents to sign up. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Karen Sanchez just finished 8th grade, and is spending the summer doing what she loves.

"I think I've developed a passion for dance and it's really fun because I get to develop technique,"

If there was no summer program at her school, she'd be out of luck.

"There's not really much to do here because it's not safe around here," says

It's one of the arguments Mayor Bill de Blasio made Monday, when he visited summer programs at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg.

"The child who is in this building safe and sound and learning is not out in the streets or anywhere in harm’s way. They’re safe, they’re being supported and they’re learning," the mayor says.

He says he wants more families to take advantage of the new programs.

"All over the five boroughs, you have available summer enrichment seats," de Blasio says.

The city is funding 34,000 seats for middle school students this year, but right now, only 23,000 students have enrolled, which means about a third of the seats are open.

While the programs began last week, the mayor emphasizes that families can enroll anytime during the summer, as long as space is available.

"We think we’re well on our way to filling all the seats," the mayor says.

They're already there when it comes to elementary school students; 99 percent of those 39,000 seats have been filled.

The mayor is focused on the middle school programs, which he doubled the funding for this year.

"It’s the make or break time in a kid’s life," he says.

So far, almost all of the mayor's education policies have focused on expanding the time students spend in school, and he's also said he plans to open even more seats in these types of programs in future years.

Already, the city's mandatory summer school program is under-enrolled, after principals recommended 10,000 fewer students than the administration had budgeted for.

So now, the mayor wants to make sure the optional programs are full.

If you're interested in signing up, you can find out how to enroll at nyc.gov/summer or by calling 311.

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