Summertime Scholars: ECS Virtual Summer Immersive Program 2020

Sofije Brija

Here at Excellence Community Schools we know the importance of education all year round and of keeping our scholars’ minds engaged throughout the warm, summer months. This past July, we held a Virtual Summer Immersive Program full of challenging classes and thought-provoking symposiums aimed at nurturing and enriching the minds of our alumni during this time of distance learning.

Here at Excellence Community Schools we know the importance of education all year round and of keeping our scholars’ minds engaged throughout the warm, summer months. This past July, we held a Virtual Summer Immersive Program full of challenging classes and thought-provoking symposiums aimed at nurturing and enriching the minds of our alumni during this time of distance learning.

Held from July 6 – July 31, the Virtual Summer Immersive Program engaged with our alumni, ranging from 9th graders to sophomores in college, helping to expose them to a variety of subjects and conversations that would open their minds and celebrate their ideas, innovations, and perspectives.

Weekly Alumni Symposiums were held in which scholars were given the opportunity to converse about serious, timely topics ranging from gun violence to the challenges faced by women in society today. Each week a new topic was introduced and accompanied by reading material to be discussed. Alumni participated in a respectful, insightful dialogue, sharing a combination of research and personal experiences that helped to shape their viewpoints about the issue at hand. The conversations would often last for hours, as scholars shared opinions, asked questions, and embraced new ideas posed by their classmates.

In addition to symposiums, the Virtual Summer Immersive Program was comprised of a host of different courses including Web Development, Modern Literature, Game Development, and Entrepreneurship. The scholars partook in these courses for several weeks, ending the program with a series of presentations in which they shared their final projects and learnings with one another.

The scholars from Modern Literature shared personal statements in which they described a problem from their past that they had successfully solved, or one that they were still aiming to solve. Pieces discussing family, lessons in communication, and diverse upbringings were all shared. The overall goal of this course was to help scholars with their college applications and the personal statements that they would have to write as a part of this process.

Scholars from Game Development shared the computer games that they had worked throughout the summer to design — describing the incentive of their games, the aesthetic, the players, and sound effects involved.

The Entrepreneurship course, which provided scholars with the knowledge, tools, and processes necessary to conceive and launch a successful business, ended with a series of Shark Tank-style presentations. Scholars shared their business plans before a panel which included a school leader, an instructional specialist, and members of the ECS Marketing team, in the hopes of signing on a partner to help their business grow. The businesses that were shared ranged from a virtual exercise company, to a beauty salon, to an organic skincare line, to a clothing company, to a virtual education company, to dance training classes. Scholars were evaluated on everything ranging from how clearly they described their product/service, to the target markets they identified, to the use of technology to present their ideas and more. The scholars will take everything that they learned from the course, their evaluations, and the mentorship available to them to continue to work on their businesses and take them to the next level.

It’s been an enriching, eye-opening, and transformative summer. The opportunity to bring our alumni together, especially given the current circumstances, is something that we will always cherish and remember. It’s during times such as these that we lean on our educational community to provide a sense of togetherness and of normalcy and to continue to prioritize new learnings and development. We hope that our alumni will take what they learned and continue to expand upon those ideas with the understanding that we are always here for guidance and support.

Scholars — we can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next!