Pennsylvania College of Technology is taking part in a new after-school initiative begun by Williamsport Area School District in 2012-13.
Through a 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant, the district launched an after-school program for middle school students during which the schools offer mini courses, time and help for homework completion, and structured physical activities, as well as snacks and dinner.
For four weeks each quarter, the students travel to Penn College for an afternoon of hands-on activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Lycoming Valley Middle School students visit on Wednesday, and Curtin Middle School students visit on Thursday. The elective program is open to up to 80 students from each middle school.
Denise S. Leete, associate professor of computer science at Pennsylvania College of Technology, attempts to follow the Lego “programming” instructions of Curtin Middle School student Adam Chatterton during an after-school visit to the college.
While the students are on campus, Penn College faculty present hands-on workshops designed to provide glimpses of their disciplines, helping the students to explore all areas of campus, as each quarter features two of the college's eight academic schools.
During two weekly sessions each quarter, the college arranges a trip to a local business and industry site to link the program to real-world applications and strengthen participants' appreciation of career possibilities in the disciplines addressed by the program presentations.
The three-year partnership for the Middle School After-School Program augments college initiatives in which the district already participates. Those initiatives include Career Days and Penn College NOW dual-enrollment courses.
As a subcontractor on the grant, Penn College will receive $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Education through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.