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

During a six year period, 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.

This hands-on partnership model 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.

What We Learned

While the model was academically rigorous, ultimately it was unsustainable as a long-term strategy. PASA continues to keep experiential learning front and center.  We know that the school year AfterZone model gets results (it helps improve school attendance, it encourages students to get better grades, it increases student confidence, and it helps students develop communication and teamwork skills).  We are always working towards building a financially sustainable, AfterZone-based model for the summer learning that deepens social and emotional competencies, but also embodies the freedom and fun young people want in the summer.