BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — With students returning to school in a few weeks, Governor Kay Ivey is touting summer learning programs that are keeping students sharp after nearly two years of altered learning due to the pandemic.

Governor Ivey toured the SAILS, or Summer Adventures in Learning program at the Birmingham Summer Institute.

“COVID obviously interrupted learning in our traditional school year so it’s important that we bring partnerships together to encourage our young people to participate in these six-week summer programs of learning so they can catch up,” Ivey said.

Students taking part in this six-week program focus on reading, math and social-emotional learning skills.  That includes everything from problem solving to even PE classes

“As I asked students earlier, if they are excited or prepared to go back to school, I wouldn’t say they are excited to go back to school next month, but they definitely feel more prepared,” said Dr. Briana Morton, Director of College Admissions Made Possible.

That’s done by changing the way kids think about summer school and even learning.

“We draw elements from traditional schools, and we draw elements from traditional summer camp, and we blend them together in a way that’s decidedly not traditional. So, that the kids are both learning and having fun,” said Jim Wooten, Chair of the SAILS program.

Governor Kay Ivey says new, data-based learning is key to developing today’s students, and the summer programs are more important then ever.

“To provide a quality education that puts a student on the pathway to self-sufficiency and productivity,” Ivey said.

The Summer Adventure in Learning Initiative funds summer learning programs throughout much of Alabama, including underserved areas in the state’s blackbelt region.