Pharr, TX – A group of 28 students and 16 staff members from Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) recently participated in the 2019 Rice University Tapia Summer Camps held in Houston July 28 through Aug 2, 2019.
Focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), the “Say STEM Camps” provided students with opportunities to learn about a variety of STEM disciplines through hands-on project-based learning experiences at Rice University. The camps were possible thanks to a partnership with PSJA ISD and the Rice Tapia Center for Excellence & Equity.
The 6-day, 5-night residential summer camp covered topics in Math, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering and Biology. To be selected, students had to be rising 9th through 12th graders enrolled in Geometry or planning to pursue careers in STEM.
Students who were selected this year to participate include those from the following schools: Alamo Middle School; Austin Middle School; LBJ Middle School; Escalante Middle School; PSJA Early College High School; PSJA North Early College High School; and PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School.
In addition to sponsoring students, PSJA ISD also sent 16 educators to the Rice Tapia Professional Development Camps, which included a rigorous schedule meant to simulate the student experience by immersing educators into Project-Based Learning (PBL). During the camps, teachers received 37 Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours and were challenged with a variety of STEM disciplines with a focus on computer science.
Teachers who were selected were from the following schools: Arnold Elementary; Ramirez Elementary; Ford Elementary; Kelly-Pharr Elementary; Kennedy Middle School; Yzaguirre Middle School; and PSJA North Early College High School.
For Moises Ortiz, 8th grade teacher at Kennedy Middle School, getting to participate in the professional development camp was invaluable and will help them become even more effective educators.
“More than anything you want kids to be interested in STEM,” said Ortiz in an interview at the camps. “We need to instill in kids the idea of exploring science because everything in life is about science.”