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Miami-Dade Brings STEM Summer Enrichment to Middle School Students

Published October 29, 2021
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MIAMI, FL – Miami-Dade, the fourth largest school district in the US, serves 334,000 students representing 160 different countries in languages spoken. With a student population of approximately 73% Hispanic, 19% Black, 6% White, and 2% other, and an average of 73% of students eligible for free/reduced lunch, teachers and administrators work hard to provide relevant learning experiences for every student.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a vision to create “inspired, valued, educated, and empowered students thriving in and beyond the classroom.” One way in which they accomplish this is by providing summer enrichment camps that enable students to continue learning even when school is out of session.

In the summer of 2021, they chose a STEM focus for their middle school enrichment camps, and Pitsco’s STEM Creator Packs were an integral part. After selecting 49 different sites for summer camps, Miami-Dade worked with Pitsco to ship 5,000 STEM Creator Packs in June and July, enabling camp attendees to experience engaging hands-on activities that kept them connected to the STEM learning they experience during the school year. “Our STEM Creator Pack was a great complement to their experiences,” said Pitsco Education Advisor Alan Kirby.

Pitsco’s STEM Boxes – the STEM Explorer Pack for Grades K-5, STEM Creator Pack for Grades 6-8, and STEM Innovator Pack for Grades 9-12 – created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, were designed to reach the maximum number of students across the full socioeconomic spectrum in any type of learning environment, making them a perfect fit for Miami-Dade’s enrichment camps. The STEM Creator Pack for Grades 6-8 includes STEM projects such as catapults, balloon cars, truss bridges, and more. Each box contains step-by-step instructions, and each activity is designed for a minimum 20-minute experience, making for hours of fun, purposeful, student-led learning.

Additionally, although the STEM Boxes are generally student-led, each kit is accompanied by a teacher’s guide, and Pitsco offers STEM professional development, which Miami-Dade took full advantage of. Pitsco’s Educational Services team conducted four remote PD sessions over two days for 187 teachers.

With a little help from Pitsco’s STEM Creator Packs, Miami-Dade set its students on a path this summer to thrive beyond the classroom.

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– Jairo A Maldonado, EdM, assistant principal, Westfield High School, Houston, Texas

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