At ISTE 2014, a team from Poudre School District—a SunGard K-12 Education BusinessPLUS customer in Colorado—presented “Combat Summer Slide: Create and Sustain STEM opportunities,” which highlighted the amazing story of their summer STEM initiative.
Founded in 2009, STEM Institute began with the belief that vision comes first and resources will follow. The three-week summer STEM offering encourages students to “think creatively, problem solve, and connect globally throughout the year.” From its founding, the program has grown from 76 mostly male students in 2009 to 600 students in 2014, with 40 percent of this summer’s group being female.
Tracey Winey, a SMART Exemplary Educator and Preston Middle School’s media and STEM education specialist, said enthusiasm for the program is contagious. “We knew the students would be excited. What we didn’t anticipate is the staff would be just as excited,” she said, noting that STEM Institute is comprised of “passion-based projects” created by a team of dedicated educators and staff who know how to nurture that same passion in students. “[The team] supports this program because teaching and inspiring students are what we love to do.”
The program is self-funded, with support coming from community donations. Read more about the program at www.combatsummerslide.org.