STEM in the City Camp Cited for Excellence

July 26, 2017

STEM Camp logoWheelock College's STEM in the City Camp was named as top performing summer program by Boston After School & Beyond (BASB) and Boston Summer Learning Community, a partnership created to foster innovation in summer learning.

STEM in the City, which is open to rising 8th and 9th grade students, was evaluated and rated as a top performer among other summer programs in:

  • Organization of activities
  • Nature of Activities
  • Staff building relationships and support for individual youth
  • Youth relations with peers
  • Staff promotion of engagement and stimulating thinking
  • Level of youth participation

The evaluation singled out STEM in the City for the range and quality of activities that students experience during their one- or two-week camp session. The report specifically called out these features of the camp as factors that created a quality learning experience for campers:

  • Students can learn valuable information from the experiences of current professionals.
  • STEM learning can be integrated into a broad range of activities.
  • College readiness includes familiarity with college campuses.
  • Small group activities are good for providing individualized attention and making projects more hands-on.

The evaluation concluded that, "STEM in the City is an innovative annual summer camp featuring excursions to Boston-area companies, organizations, or field sites that highlight a variety of STEM disciplines, and a related classroom lab activity led by Wheelock College math and science faculty and staff and additional STEM professionals."

About the Quality Measurement Partnership

BASB, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools and over 160 program partners, has gathered a wealth of information over the past decade about planning and delivering high-quality summer learning and after-school programs.

The Boston Summer Learning Community is a rich citywide network of summer learning programs that are unified in their commitment to closing the opportunity gap, implementing the same measurement tools, and working together towards continuous improvement. The goal of the initiative between these partners is to help summer program leaders, funders, and city officials - both locally and nationally - learn from and adopt best practices in their own work, thus improving the quality of programs for students.

Visit insight.bostonbeyond.org to learn more about the Boston After School & Beyond/Boston Summer Learning Community collaboration.

About STEM in the City Summer Camp

STEM in the City Summer Camp is held for two weeks in July at Wheelock College. It features broad themes for each week (e.g., health and environmental sciences is one week), in which staff integrate field trips and classroom activities. Using this broad umbrella, campers learn a variety of STEM disciplines. For example, campers might visit the Emergency Department at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where they learn from health professionals about health careers, cardiac anatomy and physiology, and how to measure blood pressure. Staff then follows up this field trip with the students' designing an investigation about what may impact blood pressure. They develop questions, hypotheses and predictions; collect data; analyze and present their findings to their peers. By using broad themes and integrating STEM fields throughout these themes, students may connect with a prior discipline of interest but are also exposed to others that they may not have considered.

The camp also includes a college access and readiness component. By hosting this camp at Wheelock College, and having it led by college faculty, staff, and college students (in addition to middle school and high school teachers), campers are exposed to the collegiate environment. Staff supplements this experience with trips to other universities so that students will be exposed to a variety of campuses. The idea is for students to begin to picture the possibility of attending college themselves.

Visit wheelock.edu/stemcamp to learn more about STEM in the City Summer Camp at Wheelock College.  

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