Located on the central coast of California, the town of San Luis Obispo is known for its picturesque downtown area, proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities. The mission of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education (SLOCOE) is to promote student success by supporting the work of local school districts, delivering specialized student services, and providing countywide leadership and advocacy for the needs of all children. SLOCOE offers academic and financial support and assistance to the 34,000 students in over 75 schools in 10 districts.
STEM Center USA’s partnership with SLOCOE began in the Summer of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic when local schools closed due to health concerns. Thanks to a word-of-mouth referral, the Program Director of the Migrant Education Program for SLOCOE, contacted STEM Center USA to learn about the organization’s programs.
During her initial meeting with the STEM Center USA team, the MEP director partnered with STEM Center USA for a fully remote online class for 30 migrant education students. In July 2020, the 6th – 10th-grade students participated in the live online 10-day program from the comfort of their homes.
The Create Your Own Virtual Reality (VR) class engaged students in hands-on learning methods, exposed students to engineering and STEM terminology, and taught them the basics of coding. The VR class also introduced students to creative design, storyboard development, and the integration of math applications into real-world projects.
The results of a post-program survey from SLOCOE teachers, students, and parents were favorable, so much so that SLOCOE has continued to partner with STEM Center USA for eight semesters and has provided STEM classes to more than 712 rostered K–12th-grade students.