Today, we launched a two-year pilot initiative: a summer program at Decker Middle School designed to provide more than 75 low-income fifth, sixth and seventh grade students in Manor ISD with summer learning opportunities.
The 7 week-long initiative includes:
- UWATX’s Hands On Central Texas —Austin’s largest volunteer network — will conduct weekly volunteer activities where staff lead on-campus volunteer projects aimed to introduce students to philanthropy at an early age and help them improve their own school. This builds on our success leading Volunteer Project Leader classes at Decker MS.
- National Summer Learning Day on Friday, June 20, in which students will team up with UWATX’s Young Leader Society members to guide advocacy letter writing about the importance of summer and afterschool programs as part of a larger, nation-wide effort.
- Texas Association of Minorities in Engineering event on Tuesday, July 22 in which TAME’s “Trailblazer Bus”—the only interactive science and engineering museum-on-wheels in Texas—will be stationed at Decker Middle School to provide STEM-based activities for the students.
- Creative Action will offer film production classes where students will be able to produce a film based on a social issue they identify in their community. Additionally, Creative Action will offer an art visual program in which students will develop their skills as individual artists.
- Camp Fire will offer a leadership program aimed to build leadership skills and introduce participants to STEM-based professionals.
We’ve been serving Decker Middle School for three years as part of Target Graduation, which focuses services on the critical middle school period in order to keep students on the path to graduation. This new initiative builds on the success we’ve seen during the school year by extending the same kind of quality services into the critical summer months.
“We know that a lack of summer learning contributes substantially to students falling behind academically across many subjects,” said Nichole Lopez-Riley, director of Target Graduation. “This initiative is aimed to provide students with the materials, project-based learning opportunities and access to services they need during the summer break to be successful.”
By providing high-quality services to low-income students, we hope to lessen the achievement gap—the difference in academic performance by different groups defined by socioeconomic status, race and gender.