In 1983, two public school teachers, Jackie Jackson and Gail Whitney, noticed children in their classrooms who had individual interests or “sparks” that couldn’t be fully addressed in the normal school day. They felt that giving students access to an expert in the field of their interest would inspire them while also showing them the careers that follow education. This was, and still is a special need for children interested in science and technology, which moves faster than most schools can address. Jackie and Gail felt that this out-of-school supplementary education would also prevent students from dropping out or losing interest in school. Today, our four programs, Open Enrollment Classes and Camps, Afterschool (SA2U), Apprenticeships for Science and Engineering and Girls Engage Technology inspire 2nd-12th grade students through hands-on education, taught by community experts, during out-of-school time. In total, we serve approximately 5,000 students annually. Our focus remains on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). In our 36 years, we have educated, motivated, and challenged generations of young people to follow their curiosity, learn new skills, and connect with local professionals to explore rewarding careers.
Saturday Academy strives to engage all motivated young people, including those from under-represented communities, in hands-on, in-depth learning by connecting them to community experts as educators and mentors. Our vision is that all interested, pre-college students in our region will have the opportunity to interact with community experts and experience professional environments in ways that assist them in developing intellectually and preparing for rewarding careers. Saturday Academy's innovative programs are open to all students in grades 2 through 12. We value all learning, and offer experiences in many disciplines. We emphasize science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), because these fields are critical for children's careers and their fast pace of change is difficult to address in traditional school settings. Saturday Academy was founded in 1983, and became an independent 501c3 nonprofit in 2006. Saturday Academy has provided instruction to more than 185,000 students throughout Oregon and SW Washington.