SUMMER IS FUN-TIME -- AND LEARNING-TIME!
We're busy organizing our 7th consecutive Summer Session 2013, and getting ready to welcome dozens of full-time participants and their families for the late June thru early-August 6-week Session. Yes, we'll emphasize fitness, the arts, games, the outdoors, field-trips, and fun -- but academics-related learning continues.
Experience tells us that the hour after lunch is when even the most active girls want to lay low for awhile and do more contemplative activities. Accordingly, Summer Session girls will have 'Reading-time' during this period, and can choose between take-turns group reading sessions or individual reading. Our older 'Nia Project' girls have developed their own approach to group readings-and-discussion. We offer prizes, support, and positive feedback to encourage our young readers. Field trips to the public library are frequent during Summer Session, for example. Reading-time is typically followed by group indoor quantitative reasoning games like 'Minute to Win-It,' and 'Wheel of Fortune.' Stay tuned for notice of our End-Of-Summer Celebration!
School Year 2012-2013 ended strongly, and we are especially proud of the progress which several formerly under-performing girls made with English Literacy. Just one success story this year is “Jasmine (names are changed or withheld as part of our safety policy).” Her Mexican immigrant grandmother was raising her but, with only an elementary-school education, knew that she couldn’t help Jasmine’s flagging English literacy – 2 years below grade-level (close collaboration with parents is key to our approach to academic support). We convened family, classroom teachers and our tutors early in the School Year to develop a plan for Jasmine who, nine months later, is now ‘proficient’ at her grade level. Wow. Congratulations to you and to your grandmother, Jasmine!
While we're at it, thanks again to GlobalGiving and to all of our donors. We believe that we've provided a good return on your investment in terms of positive development for low-income girls over School Year 2012-2013, and we just can't do it without you!
The girls are going strong this 2012-2013 School Year - they are focused and determined! Whether they’re in 1st or 8th grade (we serve girls in grades K-8th), each girl takes her homework seriously. With the support from one another, tutors from local college-prep high-schools, volunteers and staff, they make sure their schoolwork is completed to the best of their abilities.
Girls keep busy every day, even after completing homework. Once homework is complete, girls participate in various skill-building activities lead by our fantastic and devoted volunteers and staff. Activities currently include: nutritious cooking workshops, singing, Crochet, yoga, gardening and computer technology workshops!
With recent awards from Unity Palo Alto’s Sharing Abundance Committee and Facebook’s local community fund, we will be completing our Computer Lab Enhancement Project in 2013. We will be updating our four computer workstations to include the latest software-- such as the Microsoft Office suite-- and will be providing structured lessons on the software to our pre-teens girls. Information Technology skills are becoming basic modern-day skills to hold and as such we find it important for girls to gain the skills. Hand-in-hand with this, we will be enhancing our Digital Photography workshop by teaching girls how to utilize Photoshop to create their photo projects. More details to come in the next report!
Thank you for your support!
After wrapping-up our sixth successful all-day, six-week summer session (see A Place I Love: Summer 2012 report) this past July, we excitedly welcomed the girls back for our 2012-2013 after-school program. This school year is proving to be a busy and fun one for our girls!
Girls recently began utilizing Khan Academy, a free online tool that provides high-quality educational tutorials and exercises. Khan Academy allows us to track the girls’ progress to see the levels at which they are mastering mathematics skills. Girls have been very responsive and look forward to the exercises - it has proven to be a great way to supplement girls’ education while also working on their computer-literacy skills.
The girls have also been spending time outdoors, engaging in physical activities and planting a fall garden. From planting carrots & cabbage and creating a worm compost bin, to watching three friendly chickens move around the garden bed cultivating the soil, and using veggies from the garden to make delicious recipes, the girls have made the garden their own. Carla, a third-grade Girls to Women participant, recently said, “I like following the chickens around and seeing how they find bugs and potatoes in the ground.”
In short, we’re going strong as the 2012-2013 School Year picks up momentum. Girls' dedication continues as they complete homework, prepare for tests & exams, and apply to college-prep high schools. Your contribution supports a new emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (‘STEM’) learning; structured health and fitness activities and a continuing focus on self-exploration through the arts among other activities.