Instead of hanging out at home during spring break April 11 – 15, five lucky Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) students who participate in the Migrant Education Program (MEP) received scholarships to attend an iD Tech computer day camp held at Don Callejon Elementary School.
“The computer camp scholarships are really significant because our migrant students don’t usually have these types of opportunities. Their parents can’t afford camps, any kind of camp,” said Beatrice Martinez, MEP liaison for SCUSD (email@example.com).
SCUSD has about 250 MEP students, and Martinez knows them all. She visits their families to determine if they qualify for the MEP program, and she counsels and supports them year round. Also, she recommends students for the coveted camp scholarships. SCUSD is part of the MEP’s Santa Clara County Office of Education, Region 1 (www.mepregion1.org).
Children younger than 22 are eligible for the MEP program if parents, guardians or spouses–or even they themselves–are migrant workers or fishermen, and they have had to move and change schools or school districts within the preceding 36 months.
At iD Tech computer camp, the MEP students learned to program and solve engineering problems through designing computer games and building robots in a relaxed setting with tech-savvy young instructors recruited by iD Tech from around the country.
“I like it because I’m learning about robots, building a robot. It has a motor and you can program it through the computer,” said Fryda, a Peterson Middle School 7th grader attending the camp with her brother Johan, a Braly Elementary 4th grader. They have a computer at home, but it doesn’t work.
Miguel, a Peterson 8th grader, was “having fun” designing a computer game. His brother and sister–Jovany, a Peterson 7th grader, and Valerie, a Ponderosa Elementary 4th grader–were also at computer camp. Valerie was creating a “female superhero” who would “dodge asteroids coming from the sky to earth.” The family shares one computer at home.
The Migrant Education Program is authorized through the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and was reauthorized in 2001 by the No Child Left Behind Act. The 2001 act requires states to close achievement gaps by giving all children access to high-quality education. The MEP, funded by federal grants to state educational agencies, establishes or improves existing education programs for migrant children.
“Over a decade, we have sent dozens of Migrant Education Program students to our [computer] camps,” said Karen Thurm Safran, iD Tech Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “This is an opportunity the students may not otherwise have and helps them with studies and improves self-esteem. It gives them a glimpse into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.”
Enrollment is now open for Santa Clara University summer tech camps managed by iD Tech, which will match one to one any $500 scholarship designated for an MEP student.
Individuals or organizations interested in sponsoring a student can contact Safran for information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.idtech.com or call 1-888-709-8324 for information about iD Tech camps, which are open to all students.