KPBSD’s second Upstream Academy in October expanded to include students from both Title VI and Migrant Education--this brought a new dynamic and an element of cultural diversity and sharing to the academy! Students from Kachemak-Selo joined other migrant students from Homer, Soldotna, and Sterling and were able to share their lifestyle and culture with our Title VI students to the benefit of everyone.
Students were able to design their own obstacle courses for their drones, then code their drones on an aerial pathway through the course. Students could choose the difficulty for the courses and often had to rework the courses as they coded along. In addition, student’s problem solved issues facing drone technology and sought to understand how the current technology could be improved upon. This led to creative designs for future technology.
The success of Upstream Academy in part goes to the amazing community partners who help put together a week of STEM-based activities. The Alaska State Troopers came with their armored Bear Cat and demonstrated how the current technology in law enforcement keeps all of us safe. Students were even able to check for speeders in the Kenai Spur Highway using the Trooper radar equipment and drive their SWAT team robots. The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Rangers taught students how they collect evidence in the field and how to read topography maps with their high-tech sand table.
Students enjoyed a visit to the Kenai Peninsula College where they learned about dorm life “ResLife”, and the welding, paramedics, and process technology departments. Dr. Nels Anderson even taught students how to start their own fires in the wilderness, using what they have on hand. The Kenaitze Tribe’s Yaghanen Youth Center provided a great afternoon learning about and participating in Native Youth Olympics.
“This week was so inspiring because I saw students who came in very shy and timid, but by the end of the week, these were the very kids that were helping other students troubleshoot their drones. It was an amazing transformation to see! This academy brought many kids out of their shells and they really seemed to have a sense of belonging and purpose.” –Kristin Jones, Lead Interventionist, Skyview Middle School
Story contributed by Rachel Pioch, KPBSD Migrant Recruiter, Skyview Middle School Title VI Tutor, Native Youth Leaders Advisor