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School of Education Initiatives in the Promise Neighborhood

Drexel University School of Education

The School of Education is proud to offer a diverse menu of learning enrichment programs for children in the West Philadelphia Promise Neighborhood. From STEM, to sports science, to reading camps, the School of Education provides several programs to fit the interests of kids. Below are a list of current initiatives run by School of Education faculty, students, and staff.

Project-Based Learning Pilot: Continuing STEM Education Academy

Project led by Kareem Edouard, PhD, and Youngmoo Kim, PhD

Continuing STEM Education Academy (CSEA) is designed to provide additional STEM training opportunities through the development of “maker” skills to assist high school graduation-age students of the Promise Neighborhood. The program aims to develop and enhance STEM competencies and technical knowledge necessary for a career pathway into technology industry employment and life-long learning.

The primary goal to invest and support students in the Promise Neighborhood by providing rigorous and in-depth STEM training that will support the lifelong pursuit of STEM employment. As potential employers (particularly in the fast-growing technology industry) are looking for a skilled and interdisciplinary workforce, the public school system finds it hard to keep up with the necessary STEM requirements needed to meet the demands of employers. Our program seeks to augment in-school STEM education by providing high school age students of the Promise Neighborhood with additional training in sought-after “making” skills (design, fabrication, and presentation) that will make them highly competitive.

Drexel Summer Reading Camp

Project led by MJ Tecce DeCarlo, EdD, Vera Lee, EdD, Lori Severino, EdD, and Sarah Ulrich, EdD

The Drexel literacy camp supports the reading needs of students in grades 3-5 who are in need of extra reading support. The camp is part of the capstone course for the Reading Specialist program at the School of Education and the facilitators are certified teachers in the Wilson Reading System®. The camp offers a balanced approach to literacy, which aims to help children improve their decoding and spelling skills, develop their reading comprehension strategies, and engage in meaningful writing activities. The campers receive targeted literacy instruction in small group settings, including a Wilson® center, to ensure that their individual needs around reading/writing are met.

Philadelphia Math Corps Summer Program

Project led by Valerie Klein, PhD, and Jason Silverman, PhD

This four-week program serves a total of approximately 60 middle and high school students. Using a “kids teaching kids” model, the high school students serve as teaching assistants for the younger students. College students, some of whom are often former Math Corps kids themselves, work as instructors and mentors. The students are broken into teams with each team having ten middle school students, five high school teaching assistants (TA’s) and one college student (CI) at the head. The CI’s and TA’s not only serve as teachers and role models for the middle school kids, but as essentially “big brothers” and “big sisters.” Students receive math instruction in both the basics and advanced topics, while being immersed in a culture of support and achievement.

Science Enrichment

Project led by Rasheda Likely(PhD student)

The Science Enrichment program is a weekly enrichment session that provides 3rd and 4th grade students with the opportunity to participate in hands-on science activities in addition to their formal science class. The purpose of these enrichment lessons is to extend student learning through a series of science experiments. Rather than produce a series of unfamiliar science content the students, this integrates content from Philadelphia School District science curriculum. Each lesson students read a story about a student their age sharing information about a science topic. From that story, students then answer that answer content questions and perform an experiment. Each session concludes with the students being prompted to share additional questions or insights about the lesson.

Black Girls STEAMing Through Dance: Building a Pipeline for Future STEAM Majors and Careers

Project led Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD, Valerie Ifill, MFA, Michelle Rogers, PhD, Raja Schaar, MA

Black Girls STEAMing through Dance (BGSD) is a transdisciplinary collaboration between Education, Dance, Design, and Computing and Informatics. BGSD is a co-curricular program that connects culturally sustaining dance and movement, design, and computational thinking and technology to the development of STEAM identities, STEAM literacies, and positive self-concept for African American girls. This purpose is supported by two main objectives: 1) To create a pipeline of underrepresented African American girls interested in future STEAM majors and careers, and 2) To support educators’ development of culturally sustaining STEAM pedagogies through innovative professional development in culturally sustaining STEAM experiences.