Summer CUBS - groupProgram Overview:

Summer CUBS (Comprehension and Understanding Brings Success) is a collaboration between the Worcester Area Mission Society, Clark University and the Worcester Public Schools that brings together current and future educators, student mentors from two Worcester high schools (University Park Campus School and Claremont Academy) and adult and student mentors from neighboring communities to offer interactive and individualized summer STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, with Arts integration) to elementary students (grades 1-3 and some siblings of students up to grade 6) at Worcester’s Woodland Academy.

Woodland Academy is located in Main South, a low-income urban neighborhood that represents both a wide range of challenges and many possibilities. Having one of the highest percentages of English language learners in the Worcester school district, Woodland is well known for its teachers who are very active in researching their practice and their students’ learning, particularly with respect to classroom discussion and language development.

It is this sound base as well as Woodland’s already existing partnership with Clark University’s Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School practice that makes it an ideal candidate for expanded community partnerships such as Summer CUBS.

Summer CUBS is a full day program (8-2) that runs concurrently with the already existing Worcester Public School half-day summer school program at Woodland. By including some students in the WPS summer school program and others in Summer CUBS, Woodland is able to more than double the number of its students benefiting from summer programming. Summer CUBS accepts up to 60 students.

Program Details:

Summer CUBS runs during the weeks of WPS Summer School.  During 2019 the program will run from June 24 to July 18 (no school / program on July 4 and 5). The day begins at 8 and ends at 2.

Students are grouped by age and spend the day rotating between the following skill areas and activities: Science, Literacy, Math Games, Art Exploration, Inquiry, Mindfulness, Skill-based Board Games and Outdoor Recreation.

All students receive breakfast and lunch as they would during the school year, and a snack and juice at dismissal.

The program is separated into two daily shifts (8:15 to 11:30 / 11:15 to 2:00 —  See Here for a better understanding of the activities that take place in the morning vs. the afternoon).

Volunteer mentors are welcome to sign up for morning shifts only, afternoon shifts only, full days or a mix of each. Sign up Here to volunteer. Volunteers are also encouraged to sign up for/ attend a training and information session that will take place from 9 to 12:30 on Saturday, June 15Sign up Here to attend the training session

Program Goals:

Summer CUBS is designed to give elementary school students and future educators the opportunity to reach their full potential, with a focus on the following goals and objectives:

1)  improved academic outcomes for  students;
2) opportunities for future educators to improve the quality of their own teaching practice and behavior as they work alongside experienced staff;
3) opportunities for Main South high school students to build valuable leadership skills in a structured environment while giving back to their community.

 Program Success:

Like so many of their peers in low income neighborhoods, testing shows that Woodland Academy students can experience an average loss of at least one level and sometimes up to three levels of reading achievement between the time they leave school in June and return in late August. Summer CUBS students are reversing this trend.

Assessment data for both Summer 2017 and Summer 2018 shows that Summer CUBS has already made a major positive impact in the lives of  students. In Summer 2017 76% of the students enrolled in the Summer CUBS program maintained or increased their reading level. In Summer 2018 that percentage rose to 81%.

Program Leadership:

Summer CUBS staff includes a Literacy educator and a Science educator, both of whom are graduates of the Clark Master of Arts in Teaching program and current educators in the Worcester Public School system, and two stipended interns (one college, one high school — for more information see below under Program Details), all of whom work under the direction of Program Director Dr. Holly Dolan, Associate Director of Practice in Education at Clark University. Woodland’s principal, Ms. Patty Padilla and WAMS staff also work closely with the program.

Volunteer mentors including high school students from nearby University Park Campus School and Claremont Academy and adults and youth from area communities  support the staff’s delivery of hands-on and engaging learning materials in each of the STEAM skill areas. And as of Summer 2018, Summer CUBS has been integrated into the curriculum at Clark so that all Master of Arts in Teaching candidates who are focusing on elementary education are involved with the program as part of their learning and class work.

Associated Program Internships:

1) Each year we invite college students who are affiliated with a UCC congregation, majoring in education or a related human service field focused on work with children, and interested in gaining work experience in a low-income urban elementary school setting, to apply to become our stipended college intern. This internship requires the selected candidate to lead the outdoor recreation component of the day, but also carries with it the opportunity to observe and connect with each of the professional education staff as regards classroom technique and curriculum delivery in a multi-cultural urban setting where many students are English language learners. For more information, please click HERE.

2) As of Summer 2018 we have also added the Arline Rayner Internship for Community Service. High school students attending either Claremont Academy or University Park Campus School are invited to apply. Only one applicant will be selected. This stipended internship honors the late Ms. Rayner’s lifetime commitment to and support of innovative educational programs directed at youth. For more information please email Holly Dolan at

3) During Summer 2019 we will also be seeking a stipended intern assistant. This assistant will support and learn from the selected Arline Rayner intern. High school students attending either Claremont Academy or University Park Campus School are invited to apply. Only one applicant will be selected.

How Can You Help?

First and foremost, WAMS would like to thank the many congregations, foundations and individuals whose financial contributions allow us to continue offering and expanding the Summer CUBS program.

In addition, we could not offer this program without the dedication and talent of the many adult and youth volunteer mentors who sign up each summer to support the Summer CUBS students and staff.

For more information on becoming a volunteer mentor, please click here.

You can also stay tuned for the upcoming WAMS quarterly newsletter and/or email Mary Robbins at