Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer STEAM Academy Model and Fundraiser

Moon Summer STEAM Academy students,
Rosser Conservation Education Center, 
Congratulations to Sheryl Lovelady, executive director of the Oklahoma Afterschool Network, and her staff for identifying and filling a need with a summer STEAM academy in northeast Oklahoma City. 

Imagine doing something similar with mentoring staff, volunteers, peer mentors, and parents in your area--as a meaningful fundraiser or charity event.

Summer academy combines creativity with 

With the zoo's reusable plastic water bottles

By Tim Willert 
Modified: June 18, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Published June 17, 2014

A neighborhood improvement project on Oklahoma City's east side has spawned a summer learning program designed to engage children through fun, hands-on experiences. And Legos. Lots of Legos.

About 70 kids from F.D. Moon Elementary School, 1901 NE 13, are participating in a Summer STEAM Academy at Douglass Mid-High School that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 

First-grader Brandon Edwards and kindergartener Myles Moore stood side-by-side Tuesday, making fishing poles out of Legos.

"I already (built) the fish, now I'm building the fishing pole," Myles, 5, exclaimed.

Brandon got stuck and turned to Janessa Richard of Building Minds, which uses the colorful, interlocking plastic blocks to teach science and engineering concepts to students.

"They're learning how to problem solve, " Richard said. "they mess it up and then they learn how to fix it."

Students also receive two hours of daily reading instruction.

"A lot of them are really interested in science and math," said Freddy Moncada, a fifth-grade teacher at Moon. "You can see that they really want to be here."

The program is the result of a collaboration between the city of Oklahoma City planning department and The Oklahomam Afterschool Network, which designed the program based on the needs of the Culbertson neighborhood.

Among the needs outlined in community surveys: Improving public safety by repairing sidewalks and strengthening the community by improving after-school offerings for students that include STEM--science, technology, engineering and math--subjects and reading intervention.

Photos by Cedric Currin-Moore, OKA
“We wanted something that included art,” said Sheryl Lovelady, executive director of the after-school network. “We wanted the kids to have fun and wanted them to be safe.”     

In another classroom Tuesday, fourth-grader Jeremiah Bennett and several other budding thespians worked on their improvisation skills with a couple of instructors from Oklahoma Children's Theatre.      

“It’s fun and it gives you a chance to free yourself from class,” said Jeremiah, 9.

An after-school program for Moon students is planned for the 2014-2015 school year.

If successful, the program, which will cost Oklahoma City Public Schools $70,000, could be expanded to include Thelma Parks Elementary, officials said.  Ret. 6-27-14




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