Thanks to the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, Saturday Academy is excited to offer an academic summer camp to low-income students in the Portland community. STEAM Academy is a high-impact, full-day camp held at the University of Portland (UP) campus in North Portland for 4th-9th grade students. Students work with academic tutors and attend hands-on classes in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) taught by local professionals. STEAM Academy’s combination of academic tutoring, hands-on learning and connections with adult role models addresses the ‘summer slide’ or summer learning loss that so many students suffer from during the long months of summer vacation. Students leave STEAM Academy better prepared academically for the new school year. In addition, participating youth build relationships with community experts who connect the classroom experience to rewarding careers.
Founded in 2013 as a collaboration between Saturday Academy and UP, STEAM Academy engages graduate students in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at UP during the morning portion of the School of Education’s Summer Learning Program. These students create and implement customized math and literacy tutoring plans for each participant based on academic feedback from the participants' parents and teachers. In the afternoon, participants attend Saturday Academy classes in small groups of 15 or less. Together, we provide a full-day academic experience for low-income students.
Saturday Academy offers hands-on, in-depth classes taught by community experts with a passion for their fields. STEAM Academy 2016 classes included Rocket Science; Computer Programming; Puzzles, Codes and Games; Stop Motion Animation; Rube Goldberg Engineering; Digital Photography; Wire Sculpture; Animated Math; and Masks from Around the World. STEAM Academy classes are designed to challenge students to problem-solve, work together and learn by doing. The curricula is project-based, rather than lecture- or textbook-based. Rocket Science students shot bottle rockets off in a large field on the UP campus and measured the rockets' height and velocity (see photo). Stop Motion Animation students worked together to make short videos using drawings, stickers, toys and music; their final projects were shown to Saturday Academy staff and posted to our YouTube channel. Each class challenges students to follow their own curiosity.
The Spirit Mountain Community Fund (SMCF), the philanthropic arm of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, has funded important projects in our community since 1997. STEAM Academy aligns with the SMCF’s funding priority area of ‘Effective Education for All,’ reflecting their desire that all children have the support they need to reach their best academic abilities. Explore www.thecommunityfund.com to learn more about the SMCF’s impact in Oregon. Saturday Academy is grateful to partner with the SMCF to offer low-income Portland children an academic summer camp that is fun and hands-on, so that those children can follow their curiosity to develop new skills, discover new passions and learn about career paths that spark their interest.