Summer and Learning: A Natural Fit

@AfterZone @Hiphopscience @SummerSTEM

Everyone’s best summer memories are of discovering or learning something new, be it learning how to ride a bike for the first time, or discovering where dragonflies come from. Summer and learning just naturally go hand-in-hand!

PASA’s Summer Learning History

For six years, PASA partnered with Providence Public Schools to offer the AfterZone Summer STEM Camp, which gave Providence middle school students fun, hands-on, field learning experiences that focused on building science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, all while having fun under the summer sun.

Over those six years, we built a hands-on partnership model that featured collaborative teaching teams consisting of a community-based STEM educator, a district teacher, and an AfterZone staff member who would co-develop and co-teach a collaborative curriculum that connected academically aligned STEM and literacy skills with hands-on field research.

Iterating on What We Learned

While that model was academically rigorous, ultimately it was unsustainable as a long-term strategy. For the summer of 2018, PASA kept experiential learning front and center, but we decided to scale back while we reconsider and redesign our summer learning model for the summer of 2019.

We know that our school year AfterZone model gets results, from improved school attendance to better grades to stronger social and emotional competencies like confidence, teamwork, and communication. Over the course of 2018, we’ll be exploring how we can build a financially sustainable, AfterZone-like model for the summer that expands experiential learning opportunities and deepens social and emotional competencies, but that also embodies the freedom and fun young people want in the summer. We’re going to be iterating on what we learned in our first six years of summer learning, and using the lessons to design our next summer model. Stay tuned!