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The Tomorrow Project
Nancy Shaw
Tomorrow Project Administrator
Benerd School of Education

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Benerd College
For Degree and Credentialing: 209.946.2683 For Professional Development: 209.946.2424 For Sacramento Programs: 916.340.6155

3601 Pacific Ave. Stockton, CA 95211
3200 Fifth Ave. Sacramento, CA 95817

PREP USA Reach for the Stars STEM Academy

The PRefreshman Engineering Program (PREP)-USA/Reach for the Stars Academy serves students in the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD). Students are referred to the program based on specific academic criteria from SUSD. The academy serves rising 7- rising 12 grades and provides in-depth, intensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) academy. The Academy stresses the development of abstract reasoning and problem solving skills, as well as the application of this knowledge, through coursework, team projects, class presentations, and examinations. The academy builds a community around the awareness of STEM in our daily lives and the importance of STEM careers through the incorporation of a parent outreach component; a two night financial literacy workshop presented by Wells Fargo, local guest speakers, & field trips.   

Academy classes are taught by local credentialed teachers.  Teaching assistants (TAs/mentors are students from University of the Pacific (UOP) and/or other surrounding universities and colleges. The program curriculum extends over a five-week period during the summer on the UOP campus and spans a six year curriculum. Topics integrated in all 5 summers include: problem solving, career opportunities awareness, research and study, teamwork, oral and written communication and field trips. Each year of the summer academy addresses different STEM topics.  YR-1: Intro to logic and engineering; YR-2: algebraic structures and intro to physics; YR-3: intro to statistics and technical writing; YR-4: water and computer science; YR-5: Aeronautics.  The curriculum is organized to prepare students for their upcoming year of school, thereby increasing academic achievement, and decreasing "summer learning loss." Academy teachers and TAs lead two parent STEM workshops. A parent graduation ceremony combines with the student graduation at the end of the program. Parents and students receive certificates.   YR-6, STEM JEMS (Job Experience Mentoring Skills), is reserved for students, who matriculate consecutively through the five summers, to apply for a TA position.  These students are given first priority for open TA positions and are for one summer.   To encompass year around engagement, students are provided STEM activities in district, at their respective school site, from UOP's MESA program during the regular academic year. Students and families are also welcome to attend on campus activities and are frequently "specially" invited to attend related on campus events. 

Immediate goals at the elementary level are to increase students' interest to and exposure in STEM.  At the middle and high school levels, to engage and encourage, particularly females and underrepresented student populations, in STEM fields that have traditionally been unrepresented in those professions. The Academy's long term outcomes are aligned with the PREP-USAs national results.  Highlights of the results include:

  • 99.9% of students are high school graduates
  • 98% of students are college students
  • 74% of the college graduates are members of underrepresented minority groups; and
  • 44% of the college graduates are engineering, mathematics, science or computer science majors.

The Academy is administered in a collaborative partnership between Pacific's Benerd College and Pacific's School of Engineering and Computer Science; the Stockton Unified School District; PREP USA, San Antonio & the Jose M. Hernandez's Reaching for the Stars Foundation.

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