The Backpack Academy Programs
Adolescents drop out for a myriad of reasons. When surveyed about why some students drop out of school, students reported as their major reasons:
1. Lack of understanding of what is expected.
2. A disconnection to the course material offered.
The Backpack Academy seeks to help to reduce the number of student drop-out rate by providing students the space to learn in a decelerated academic environment that is engaging, creative, and holistic. Data shows that when students feel empowered and motivated to learn, they take charge of their learning. Students who take control of their education will own it and will desire to continue their learning. The major goal is that students will pursue a college education in science and engineering as a means to move away from a life of barely surviving.
The Backpack Academy serves a high population of low-income children and families. In an effort to attract students to the program, a hot nutritious meal is served weekly as a means to encourage students to attend, but also to help develop their growing bodies.
The Backpack Academy will use community partners and professional individuals as guest speakers to share their knowledge and expertise in their respective fields. Contracting with local science agencies and with companies of professional individuals in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer, and Math) fields will expand student’s learning of specific scientific ways of knowing. These experiences will help students make the necessary connections to classroom input and output. Field trips will be yearly and ongoing, and will weigh heavily on instructional content. Students will make use of local programs and organization like the Boeing company, Pacific Science Center, The University of Washington science program, Archetictural firms, Seattle Art Museum
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Currently, the Backpack Academy has contracted with the Rainier Valley Boys and Girl's Club located in Rainier Valley to teach a 4 session workshop to six at risk males titled, What is,What?
The What is, What? workshop is an introductory course about the amazing world of physics. Students learn about both micro and macro physics through an engaging, culturally specific learning approach that is intentional and supportive to their development as learners. The goal of this partnership is to awaken the amazing talent in each of these six young males and that the boys will want to want to pursue a career choice in one of the STEM fields. However a more immediate need is for the boys to see the value in science and math and to want to improve in their current studies.
A current need is the instructor has been providing all instructional servies free of charge. The agency has been in operation since August 2011. Operational funds will help support the ongoing instructional support as well as with the overall capacity building of the agency. A long term goal is to offer a free, stand alone, after school tutoring program in Rainier Valley equipped with tutors educational services and supports