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Bringing More Equitable Access to Summer STEM Learning with Camp:ASPIRE Scholarships

Summer learning loss, also called the “summer slide,” is a well-documented decline in students’ schoolyear content retention during the summer months that lack organized learning activities. Typically, young learners will lose a month or more in hard-won academic achievements over summer break, resulting in a frantic catch-up in the new school year where 9 out […]

Summer learning loss, also called the “summer slide,” is a well-documented decline in students’ schoolyear content retention during the summer months that lack organized learning activities. Typically, young learners will lose a month or more in hard-won academic achievements over summer break, resulting in a frantic catch-up in the new school year where 9 out of 10 teachers spend on average the first three weeks re-teaching previous material. Yet this summer is far from typical: with social distancing and canceled summer camps, experts warn of an especially challenging “COVID-19 slide,” in which many students will lose as much as 50% of their schoolyear learning gains as a result of these disruptions.

If the “COVID-19 slide” will be difficult for most young learners, imagine being a disadvantaged student in an at-risk community. Even in normal years, children in high-poverty environments struggle with basic necessities such as healthy nutrition and stable housing. The opportunity to spend summers developing valuable STEM skills that support near-term academic achievement and long-term economic growth isn’t high on the list of immediate needs, yet is no less critical for a brighter future. In fact, summer learning loss can leave low-income students as much as two-and-a-half to three years behind their peers by the fifth grade.

Helping Kids Aspire for a Brighter Future

This week, UBTECH launched Camp:ASPIRE to help all kids, regardless of economic standing, fight the “COVID-19 slide” with fun, mind-expanding virtual instruction and hands-on building with robots in the safety and comfort of home. Because we believe every student deserves an opportunity to learn STEM skills that will be fundamental to the best jobs and the highest salaries in the future, we also committed to providing up to 10 percent of revenue from Camp:ASPIRE, with a minimum of $100,000, directly reinvested as scholarships awarded to disadvantaged students.

Going further, UBTECH partnered with the STEM Learning Ecosystems to not only develop this best-in-class virtual summer robotics camp, but also to give back to STEM Learning Ecosystems Communities of Practice: a portion of revenue from Camp:ASPIRE registrations sold through the STEM Learning Ecosystems will be provided back for future learning initiatives in their local communities. It is the shared belief of both UBTECH and the STEM Learning Ecosystems that every child should have access to the STEM education they need for a brighter future.

Kids enrolled in Camp:ASPIRE benefit from expert instruction by some of the top STEM teachers in the US, such as South Carolina’s 2019 STEM Teacher of the Year Mr. Warren Wise and San Diego County’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Ms. Shirley Miranda, all delivered virtually (and safely) using the latest interactive videoconference technology. Kids also receive a UKIT robotics building kit that includes the servos, connectors, main control box, and 300-500+ pieces – all of which are the child’s to keep after camp ends – so they can go hands-on exploring fascinating classes such as Robotics, Coding & Engineering, Animal Robots, Coding & Sensors, and more. With two hours of online instruction plus two hours of offline, guided learning each day, campers have everything they need to start building or expand real-world STEM skills that will last a lifetime.

This summer will no doubt be challenging for many families as they contend with social distancing, an uncertain economy, and, to top it all off, the loss of traditional summer activities. With Camp:ASPIRE, children from all backgrounds are invited to learn and build with robots – for fun, for growth, and for a better tomorrow.

Applications for need-based Camp:ASPIRE scholarships will open soon. To learn more about applying, please click here. If you’re interested in learning how you can directly contribute to help disadvantaged students attend Camp:ASPIRE, please consider our Fundly campaign to support need-based scholarships.

 

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