Summer CUBS 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.
And 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.”CUBS” comes from Woodland’s motto that ‘Comprehension and Understanding Brings Success’ and is also a nod to Clark’s cougar mascot.
At the end of the day Summer CUBS is about giving elementary school students and future educators the opportunity to reach their full potential, and as such the program strives to achieve and/or provide the following:
1) improved academic outcomes for students;
2) the opportunity for future educators to improve the quality of their own teaching practice and behavior as they work alongside experienced staff; and
3) the opportunity for Main South high school students to build valuable leadership skills while giving back to their community.
Challenge #1: Provide an enriching and engaging curriculum that will help students maintain the academic gains that they made during the previous school year.
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. Some students are offered summer school support through the WPS program, but like most programs, the number is limited. While also limited (maximum 60 students currently), Summer CUBS allows Woodland to essentially double the number of students benefiting from summer programming in the school. And assessment data for Summer 2017 shows that Summer CUBS has already made a major positive impact in the lives of these students as 76% of the students enrolled in the Summer CUBS program maintained or increased their reading level.
Challenge #2: Help future educators to improve their teaching practice and provide Main South high school students and other caring mentors the opportunity to build leadership skills while at the same time establishing an exciting learning community.
Summer CUBS staff includes a Literacy educator and a Science educator, both of whom are graduates of the Clark Masters 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.
Summer CUBS runs during the weeks of WPS Summer School (July 9-27 in 2018 — dates to be announced for Summer 2019).
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.
Volunteers are invited to attend a Saturday morning training and information session in June (date for 2019 will be announced in the Spring) and to sign up for morning and/or afternoon shifts during the program’s duration (8:15 – 11:30 / 11:15 to 2:00).
Each year we invite college students majoring in education 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.
As of Summer 2018 we have also added the Arline Rayner Internship for Community Service to the Summer CUBS program. This stipended internship honors the late Ms. Rayner’s lifetime commitment to and support of innovative educational programs directed at youth and is open to a high school student attending either Claremont Academy or University Park Campus School.
This year’s Arline Rayner intern, Anna L. was recommended to the program by her history teacher at University Park Campus School who said of Anna, “She is one of my best students. Always prepared and ready to learn, Anna has a ‘Can Do It’ attitude that comes through in all that she does. She sets high standards for herself and rises to meet them.” Not only were those words reflective of Arline Rayner’s spirit, but they proved to be accurate of Anna as well. Anna, who is now a sophomore, was an integral member of the Summer CUBS team, bringing outstanding leadership skills that included helping Woodland Principal Patty Padilla to explain the program to parents of prospective participants whose primary languages are Vietnamese or Cantonese, and responding to any number of real-time needs as they occurred throughout the program.
Thank you to Arline Rayner and her family and to the many others whose contributions to WAMS support this important program.