SKILLZ Summer School
June 18 - July 17, 2012.
8:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday through Thursday.
Love + support + high expectations + credits = a winning formula for teen success
SKILLZ Summer School is a free summer learning experience for teens most at risk of dropping out of school or failing to graduate. It takes place during the month of July, a time
a time when there are few scheduled programs for older youth. SKILLZ focuses on students entering 9th and 10th grades who have multiple F grades and provides them with a supportive environment, high expectations and the opportunity to earn both elective and academic credits. By completing a mix of life skills workshops and academic classes, the students can earn up to ten school credits each. In addition to improving school success, SKILLZ helps increase the students’ confidence, motivation and social skills.
Life-Skills + English + Algebra + Art
In 2011, the summer school ran from July 6 – August 4, Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and served 150 students. Morning life-skills workshops and forums were designed to empower students in dealing with critical, daily life issues and to help them successfully navigate these challenges. Day One organized the facilitated sessions with the assistance of more than a dozen partners. Topics covered included dating violence, study skills, time management, goal setting, self-esteem and conflict resolution. Students could receive five elective credits from the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) upon completion.
Flintridge coordinated the afternoon classes, which focused on individualized coursework in English and algebra. The classes were an extension of the Mustangs on the Move after-school program at John Muir High School and were supervised by credentialed instructors from PUSD, with one-on-one assistance from Occidental College tutors. Each class was an opportunity for students who had previously failed these subjects to recover five credits.
A special pre-algebra class was offered for the students entering 9th grade in the fall. The course was designed to improve math skills and prepare the freshmen for more advanced high-school-level courses. Students who struggle with math in middle school often find it hard catch up once coursework becomes more difficult, which increases the risk that they will drop out during high school.
SKILLZ also offered an art workshop for elective credit. The class was modeled on the Room 13 studio prototype launched at Muir by the Light Bringer Project for Mustangs on the Move. (Room 13 is an international network of student-driven creative studios that are guided by an artist-in-residence.)
All the SKILLZ coalition partners were involved in recruiting students, with help from PUSD counselors and administrators. PUSD also provided a free breakfast and lunch for the students. A grant from the WHH Foundation helped cover teacher salaries. Lake Avenue Foundation donated its beautiful campus at Lake Avenue Church and provided security at the site along with the Pasadena Police Department. Church volunteers helped with food distribution and student check-in/check-out procedures. Point Loma Nazarene University provided counseling services and helped students understand the graduation requirements for high school.
A series of fun and free activities, events, and opportunities to make Pasadena a little nicer, one block at a time, Block9 was inspired by a Youth Advocate-led observational survey of Northwest Pasadena in spring 2013.
The concept was then brought to life in August 2013 thanks to a generous grant by SPARC (Student Philanthropists Advancing Real Change), the planning efforts of the Youth Advocates and Day One Summer Rose youth workers, and the support of a host of local partners, including Side Street Projects, Armory Center for the Arts, Light Bringer Project, Pasadena Habitat for Humanity, Peace Over Violence, Neighborhood Connections, Conscientious Projector, Art Center, YWCA, BikeSGV, SPARC, Boys and Girls Club Pasadena, the City of Pasadena, and Flintridge Center.
Block 9 returns in 2015 with another exciting schedule of FREE + FUN + COMMUNITY BUILDING activities and events for the whole family.