Monday, October 7, 2013

Reflections of a SMART Summer

In September, SMART welcomed back our Scholars after a busy summer. Here's a recap of what we've been up to:

5th and 6th grade summer students on a visit to Heron’s Head Park
For six weeks in June and July our Academic Summer Enrichment Program for rising 5th and 6th graders expanded to accommodate 78 students (compared with 57 students last year)! This year, programming took place at one of our newest partner schools, the Mission Dolores Academy. In addition to math and English Language Arts curriculum, this year SMART added both science and history coursework, and of course, continued our much-loved tradition of science and environmentally-focused Friday field trips (including excursions to the new Exploratorium and Heron’s Head Park).

This summer also marked the kick-off of summer programming for our College Access Program (CAP). The
CAP Scholars during a Candlestick Point clean-up
 project with Literacy for Environmental Justice
CAP Social Seeds summer program focused on introducing and exploring the topic of environmental justice to SMART high school students. High school Scholars who did not have commitments to summer internships or jobs participated in programming with SMART and learned about environmental justice and injustice within their global, domestic, and local communities. To connect what students learned to the real world, the students did community service around San Francisco neighborhoods that faced, and still face, environmental injustice. The structure of the Social Seeds program mimicked a college course, so over the course of four weeks, students were paired up to work cooperatively on projects with a focus on environmental justice and presented their work at the end of the program. Because we aim to expose students in our College Access Program to a plethora of career options, during the summer months CAP students also went on career tours to learn about how different work places function and what types of career opportunities are available. This summer, students visited the law offices of Bingham McCutchen, Expedia, and Twitter.

Last, but certainly not least, this summer SMART escorted 19 high school students on our first-ever Southern California College Tour. Scholars visited nine different colleges (including Claremont Schools, UC Schools, and San Diego State University), and came back to SMART with a new excitement about their college prospects. To learn more about the tour, check out this tumblr blog, created by Laura Medina, one of SMART’s newest staff members and a SMART alumna!

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