LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Students are now more than a week into Clark County School District's Summer Acceleration Program. It's a summer offering unlike ever before: federally funded, free for families and offered to students as young as prekindergarten.

It's also the first time many students are back in the classroom five days a week for full instructional days. 

The program's goal was to address learning loss from the pandemic. 

"It kind of makes me more like happy, because now I get to ... actually dress up and go out in public, instead of sitting in my pajamas and staring at a screen," said Avery Haren, a student of Sig Rogich Middle School and summer program participant.

Distance learning wasn't easy for Haren, an incoming eighth grader. She said she failed English and math during the school year, and likely would have had to be held back because of it.

"Yeah it was very hard for me," said Haren of distance and hybrid learning. "Some other people it was like really easy, but not for me."

But those days are over now that Haren's in summer school. She is a third of her way through credit retrieval for English, and she said she turned her F into an A.

"So far I'm passing all of it. And it's so much easier. Like, a lot," said Haren. "Because there's somebody ... right in front of us teaching us, and we can ... ask questions, and not ... have distractions in the background, no nothing. Just like students and a teacher."

CCSD generic classroom

In two weeks she'll retake math, something she's more optimistic about now.

"Knowing that there's like other kids struggling too, and now ... they're passing, is kind of making me confident," said Haren.

Over at Cheyenne High School, incoming freshman Alexandra Rollins is making use of the other side of the summer program, which allows kids to take extracurriculars for free.

In April, she told FOX5 distance learning made her feel tired and uninspired.

"When you're staying in a house for six hours staring at a computer, there's nothing to see in that," said Rollins.

Now, her mother said she loves getting to play her trombone in band class again.

"She's super happy right now," said her mom Brandi Rollins. "And it's being in school, that's the funny thing. Every time I take her, she says, 'I would never know that I would be this excited to go back to school. Just to have socialization, to hang out."

And it turns out teachers are doing a lot better now, too.

One CCSD teacher who taught distance learning the entire school year, said she's finally back in person during summer school. She called the program "amazing" so far.

She said her students seem way happier, and that she's making it a priority to not only provide academic lessons, but also fun, hands-on activities and extracurriculars every weekday.

"It's the giggles and the chatter and to hear them talking to each other, and and to let them pick books out of the bookshelf that they wanna read," said Vicki Kreidel, a third grade teacher.

She added that teaching in person again, during summer school, has renewed her faith in her career.

"It's a reminder that I'm in the right profession," said Kreidel.

Teachers are being offered their hourly contracted rate. For veteran teachers, this is significantly more than the $22/hour that they'd typically make teaching summer school in prior years.

CCSD is providing bussing, however, Rollins said she's experienced issues with the bus system, so she's had to take her to school herself.

FOX5 reached out to the district's communications office for more information on the successes or challenges they are facing in this program, but they replied that they'd need more time to respond.

The program runs though June 30.

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