Living Classrooms Foundation’s BUGS and BEESMART programs provide exciting OST opportunities to Baltimore youth. Both programs are now in the process of submitting applications for renewed funding from MSDE’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to continue these exciting hands-on experiences for youth.
Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students (BUGS) is a multidisciplinary after-school program serves 2nd-5th grade students from Commodore John Rodgers Elementary/Middle School with meaningful hands-on academic enrichment activities that complement the school day.
BUGS works to help students improve academic skills, school attendance, and behavior, while also building confidence and self-esteem. All activities are designed to encourage youth to enjoy learning, make positive choices and develop socially, advance a sense of accomplishment, and make an impact in their community. The theme-based curriculum is focused on four main components: Cooking/Nutrition, Gardening/Environment, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Creative Arts.
BEE SMART (Baltimore Environmental Education Summer Math and Reading Trailblazers) is a Living Classrooms summer program that operates out of the Masonville Cove Environmental Education Campus. The program serves rising 3rd through 5th grade students and uses STEM as a vehicle to motivate student learning, increase participants’ reading levels and ultimately prevent summer learning loss-closing the achievement gap for students living in the communities of Brooklyn, Curtis Bay, Westport, Lakeland, and Mount Winans.
BEE SMART students read, write, and engage in discussion about various STEM topics and conduct hands-on experiments or service projects such as building their own underwater robots with video cameras. The program also includes small group coaching sessions with a reading specialist and recreational activities that reinforce the program’s emphasis on Character Education. Strong parent involvement and rewards for perfect attendance are pillars for this program’s success. Through family workshops, weekend conversation assignments, and continued parent feedback, BEE SMART has achieved a 95% parent involvement rate.