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Blackville students gain STEAM at summer camp

From the Augusta Chronicle:

A new summer camp brought learning full STEAM ahead for 100 Barnwell County students.

The Engaging Creative Minds Summer STEAM Camp was held at Macedonia Elementary/Middle School between June 4 and July 19. Approximately 100 students in the first through eighth grades engaged in fun and educational activities centered upon the components of science, technology, engineering, arts and math. While many students were from Blackville, a number also came from Barnwell and Williston.


The model used for the camp was started as an arts integration program during the school year in Charleston several years ago. A summer camp component was added in 2014, which proved successful and expanded into Clarendon County. This caught the eye of the South Carolina Department of Education which along with the S.C. Arts Commission provided funding for this year’s camp in Blackville, said Robin Berlinsky, the executive director of Engaging Creative Minds. Another camp was held in Allendale County.


Jeremiah Gilchrist, 11, a rising sixth grader at Macedonia, said he isn’t the best artist, but instructor Terrance Washington pushed him to be creative. “He told me not to tell him what I can’t do, but to at least try to do it,” said Gilchrist, who noticed his artistic progression throughout the six-week camp.

There's plenty more to read in Jonathan Vickery's Chronicle story.
Photo from Augusta Chronicle, credit not provided.

Clarendon I STEAM Institute a success

From The Sumter Daily Item Article and photo by Konstantin Vengerowsky

From learning stop-motion animation to basket weaving, students in Clarendon School District 1 are learning various skills this summer through a hands-on program that engages their creativity and develops their critical thinking skills. About 100 students, grades three through eight, are participating in the Engaging Creative Minds' Summer Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Institute, a free six-week program being held for the second year at St. Paul Elementary School in Summerton. The program ended Friday, with a showcase of what the students learned. The summer program is a project of Engaging Creative Minds, a nonprofit Charleston organization which started two years ago with programs in eight schools in Charleston County. The organization hires local artists and professionals in the visual, dance, music and theater arts and gives them an opportunity to teach their skills to students. The program integrates arts activities into science, technology, engineering and math subject areas. "This program combines traditional subject areas with arts activities, something that is unique in rural school districts," said Robin Berlinsky, executive director of the organization. One goal is to address the loss of learning during the summer months while engaging students in exciting activities, said Terry K. Peterson, one of the program's founders and senior fellow for education at College of Charleston. "Research clearly shows many students suffer learning losses over the summer," he said. "There are not many affordable summer learning programs in the communities that need them the most, and some that may exist are not engaging. The STEAM summer camps have found an excellent recipe for student, teacher and artist engagement and thus student success in the summers." South Carolina Arts Commission funded the program this year through a $100,000 grant, and the program could be used as a model in other rural areas, Berlinsky said. Each week of the program includes a different theme, such as engineering, chemistry, the solar system, computer science, marine life and entrepreneurship. Kari Maastricht, camp director, said activities were brainstormed to revolve around the different themes and combine STEAM subject areas. A week before the camp started, the organization's staff met with the local artists and teachers to develop a curriculum. "We have heard from many teachers who are telling us how they want to integrate art activities now into their curriculum during the school year," Maastricht said. "Because the teachers serve as camp counselors, they are able to have the same experiences as the students." Tiffany Housey, who will work as an art teacher at the school starting this school year, taught students the basics of stop-motion animation and craft making. "We were able to integrate math and animation together," she said. Housey's students built characters out of clay, photographed them with tablet devices and then using a stop-motion animation project made videos. "They had so much fun doing the projects that they forgot they were actually learning," Housey said. "I definitely discovered a love for teaching during this program." Lori Koon, a fourth-grade teacher at the school, said the program is a great assessment tool for the teachers. "It has opened my eyes for students to have unique ways to get engaged in different topic areas," she said. "They acquire many new skills in the program." Tyrese Lawson, a senior at Scott's Branch Middle-High School, served as one of the camp counselors. Lawson said he enjoyed working with the students, especially in the visual-arts component. Rosandra Bennett, a sixth-grade student at St. Paul, said besides all of the camp's activities, she enjoyed the field trips students took to Charleston and Columbia. Students had the opportunity to tour the Boeing plant in Charleston, Fort Sumter and South Carolina Aquarium. The organization partners with Boeing to make the camp possible. Clarendon 1 Superintendent Rose Wilder said she was thankful for the district being able to host the program again this year. "We've been very blessed to once again have the program at St. Paul Elementary School," she said. "The students were engaged and impacted through the hands-on material they learned." State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said it is her goal for every at-risk student in South Carolina to have access to high-quality extended learning opportunities. "Learning through the arts makes this a reality through a fun, innovative approach," she said. For more information on Engaging Creative Minds, visit www.engagingcreativeminds.org. Image: Clarendon School District 1 fifth-grade student Jordan Kind, left, seventh-grade student Carlos Cruz and Lori Koon, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Paul Elementary School, construct a hat out of different materials on Wednesday. The project was an activity of the Summer Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math Institute provided by Engaging Creative Minds.

Clarendon One students visit Steam Institute at College of Charleston

From WCBD Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Fifty Clarendon School District One students in 3rd – 8th grade are in Charleston for three days thanks to funding by the South Carolina Arts Commission. We’re told 70 students and 20 chaperones from Clarendon School District One boarded a charter bus at St. Paul Elementary school to travel to the Engaging Creative Minds Summer STEAM Institute, a 6-week arts integration camp that teachers STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). Tuesday afternoon, students are taking part in the Boeing Dreamlearners program.  In the evening ,they are being treated to pizza and movies in the dorm after a visit from the CofC team who will talk to them about college life and answer any questions they may have about college. Wednesday the students will take a Fort Sumter Tour and visit the water park.  In the evening the Children’s Museum will open just for them!  The boat leaves the dock tomorrow at 10:45.  The Children’s Museum is open from 6 p.m. -10 p.m. On Thursday, morning students will walk the Ravenel Bridge and then head back to Summerton, SC.

Engaging Creative Minds’ Summer STEAM Institute receives national recognition, donations

Engaging Creative Minds (ECM) of Charleston recently received two exciting phone calls. The first was from Microsoft announcing a donation of $15,000 in cash and $4,128 in Microsoft software in support of ECM’s Summer STEAM Institute. The second phone call was from the National Summer Learning Association, notifying ECM that the organization is a semi-finalist for the New York Life Excellence in Summer Learning Award. “I am so proud of our team, because we are one of only 17 sites selected from all across the country to be a semi-finalist for this prestigious award,” said Robin Berlinsky, executive director of Engaging Creative Minds. “Then to be given this incredible opportunity from Microsoft to expand and improve our computer science and coding curriculum at all our camp locations is just amazing.” Microsoft is also excited about the partnership. “In order to fulfill our company mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, the Microsoft Philanthropies YouthSpark initiative is partnering with organizations that are empowering young people—particularly underserved communities, women and ethnic and racially diverse populations—providing them access to critical computer science education,” said Jeff Tozzi, Microsoft general manager, State & Local Government, East Region. “Together with Engaging Creative Minds, we can help more young people develop computer science skills that will prepare them for tomorrow’s global economy, regardless of their career path." The New York Life Excellence in Summer Learning Award recognizes outstanding summer programs or models that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for young people between pre-kindergarten and 12th grade. The awards are given annually based on an application process that reviews the program’s history, mission, goals, operations, management, staff development, partnerships, results, and sustainability. Interviews are conducted with a small group of semi-finalists followed by site visits to a select group of finalists to observe program activities before announcing the awards. Winners will be honored at the National Summer Learning Association conference in Seattle in October. “With Microsoft’s support, I believe we have a really good shot at bringing this award home to South Carolina,” said Berlinsky. Engaging Creative Minds provides six weeks of arts integration summer camps for rising 3rd – 8th graders at St. Paul Elementary School in Clarendon School District One, thanks to a grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission. ECM also has camps at the College of Charleston and The Citadel. Each of the six-week summer camps engages students in activities that support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) curriculum. Campers work alongside professional artists, educators, cultural organizations and athletic providers to explore weekly themes like robotics and forensic science. Groups are small for more 1:1 interaction between adults and campers. “The goal is making sure every child is engaged, happy, and having so much fun they don’t even know they are learning!” said Berlinsky. In addition to the funding it receives from the South Carolina Arts Commission, Summer STEAM Institute receives support from Youth Endowment for the Arts (The Charleston Marathon) and Boeing SC. The mission of Engaging Creative Minds is to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce. Engaging Creative Minds is a 501-c-3 organization. Via: Engaging Creative Minds, National Summer Learning Association

Engaging Creative Minds seeks executive assistant

Engaging Creative MindsEngaging Creative Minds, located in Charleston, S.C., is hiring an executive assistant. Job duties:

  • Provide daily administrative support to Engaging Creative Minds executive director (ED)
  • Manage ED’s calendar, coordinate meetings, and emails
  • Support ED with board and committee meetings, scheduling, sending documents and other duties as needed
  • Assist lead instructional coach and director of operations with Engaged Learning Experiences (ELEs) in school, summer camp and outreach events throughout the community
  • Other administrative duties as needed such as manage outgoing and incoming mail, answer and direct incoming calls, greet office guests, invoice art partners and creating PowerPoint and other marketing materials
  • Provide clerical support including filing, faxing, copying, scanning, mailing and data entry primarily to the executive director, but also to other staff as needed
  • Assist Summer STEAM Institute camp director with registration, parent communication, camp packets, daily morning and afternoon carpool, student groupings and summer payroll
  • College degree preferred
  • Minimum one to two+ years administrative experience
  • Skilled in Mac and MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Excellent organizational skills and detail oriented
  • Ability to complete tasks accurately and efficiently, prioritize, meet deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills -- both verbally and written -- with professional phone manner
  • Ability to anticipate needs, be proactive, resourceful and flexible
  • Strong people skills, including the ability to work effectively with ECM partners, principals and schools
  • Team player with positive/easy-going manner to handle varied personalities, responsibilities and assignments
Essential responsibilities:
  • Manage phones, calendars, schedules and conference calls
  • Organize meetings and appointments
  • Organize project implementation goals (status reports and confirmation of tasks completed)
  • Promote teamwork and work well with entire staff
  • Handle other miscellaneous duties, special events and projects assigned
  • Be available some weekends and evenings
Please send letter of interest and resume to: Robin@engagingcreativeminds.org Position will be posted until filled. About Engaging Creative Minds The mission of Engaging Creative Minds is to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce.  

Chapman Cultural Center receives $2500 grant from Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation for education

To promote academic success and innovation, the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation presented Chapman Cultural Center with a $2,500 grant in September for the Center’s award-winning STEAM Education program. The gift will support the program by providing Spartanburg County students with opportunities to engage in the arts and sciences in creative ways. "Chapman Cultural Center has provided an arts and science advantage for the nearly 80,000 Spartanburg County schoolchildren for more than 30 years," said Jennifer Evins, president and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center. "STEAM is about finding the artist in every scientist and vice versa. With support from community STEM leaders like Piedmont Natural Gas, we can build a more creative and innovative workforce." The program fulfills its commitment through critical operating support of Spartanburg Science Center in order to connect youth to STEM, in-school performances, artist residencies, and exhibiting student artwork in the Student Galleries at Chapman Cultural Center. Every summer, the Center also hosts the STEAM Summer Institute for teachers, reaching not only students but educators across the state. The Institute, an accredited professional development institute by the S.C. Department of Education, brings nationally and internationally recognized teaching artists to Spartanburg to teach best practices for arts integration with STEM. "STEAM brings added creativity to the classroom," said Ava Hughes, education director at Chapman Cultural Center. "It develops students' abilities to adapt in a changing world, view problems from different perspectives, work in teams, and generate new ideas." According to national reports, this creativity is necessary for companies like Piedmont Natural Gas that need employees with strong STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, Mathematics) education. In a 2010 IBM report, more than 1,500 CEOs noted that "creativity trumps other leadership characteristics" in forming an innovative workforce. "Piedmont Natural Gas supports organizations like Chapman Cultural Center because it's part of our commitment to growing and strengthening the communities we serve," said Mike Durham, community relations manager for Piedmont Natural Gas. "Their programming is developing the next generation of innovators, and this deserves our support." For more information on STEAM Education programs at Chapman Cultural Center, contact Education Director Ava Hughes at (864) 278-9693 or aHughes@SpartanArts.org.

Image, from left to right: Karen Parrott, Annual Giving Director, Chapman Cultural Center; Jennifer Evins, President & CEO, Chapman Cultural Center; Mike Durham, Community Relations Manager, Piedmont Natural Gas
Via: Chapman Cultural Center

Camp teaches science by turning it into an art form

Engaging Creative Minds received an Arts in Education/Education and Community Partnership grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission for the Summer STEAM Institute. From the Charleston Post and Courier:

Under the watchful eye of dance teacher Heather Bybee, students glided across the floor before pulling each other through the air. The children weren't focused on their dance form in anticipation of a carefully choreographed performance. Instead, Bybee was explaining how their movements mimicked friction as part of a lesson in the forces of motion.
That's the goal of the 2014 Summer STEAM Institute, a new summer camp aimed at incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM. The nonprofit Engaging Creative Minds hosted the weekly camp for students in grades 3-8 at the Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston. The Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math at the College of Charleston developed the curriculum for the camp. Cynthia Hall, director of the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math, said each week has a different theme, such as climate change and chemical reactions. Artists are given free rein to incorporate the week's theme into their lessons for music, dance and art, Hall said. Science classes each afternoon tie in the arts activities through more traditional classroom experiments. "I think it's been very effective," Hall said. Last week, musician Jonathan Gray helped a group of students write a song about static electricity, magnetism and gravity. Students stomped their feet and made a variety of sounds to serve as the backdrop to lyrics explaining each force of motion. Across the hall, students were drawing cartoon sketches depicting various geologic landscapes. Camper Brandon Steen, who will be in the fourth grade this fall, liked that he had the freedom to draw his own vision of a geologic landscape. "There's no right and no wrongs in art," he said. In Bybee's dance class, Memminger Elementary teacher Dave Bonezzi was impressed with how using dance could engage the students in learning science vocabulary words. Bonezzi, who was assisting Bybee, said he will likely incorporate dance techniques in his second-grade classroom. "It's giving them a sensory experience of the vocabulary rather than just an auditory experience," Bonezzi said. "They keep hearing it over and over in the concept of dance." The Summer STEAM Institute is the latest endeavor for Engaging Creative Minds, which partnered with the Charleston County School District in 2013 to help schools teach science, technology, engineering and math through the arts. The group is currently in 14 schools, and there's a waiting list of more public and private schools hoping to bring in artists. The group is offering after-school programs in the fall at some Charleston schools served by the nonprofit Charleston Promise Neighborhood. Robin Berlinsky, executive director for Engaging Creative Minds, said the success of pairing the arts with math and science comes from being able to provide students with a dynamic learning experience. "Engagement is the key," she said. "The arts just naturally engage children. When you can teach using the arts you have a fully engaged classroom."
Related: Engaging Creative Minds offers Summer STEAM Camp.

Engaging Creative Minds offers Summer STEAM camp

Engaging Creative Minds received an Arts in Education/Education and Community Partnership grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission for the Summer STEAM Institute. Students in grades three through eight are invited to participate. STEAM CampEngaging Creative Minds of Charleston (ECM) is accepting registrations for the Summer STEAM Institute. Summer STEAM is designed for creative and energetic students in grades three through eight who want to spend their summer engaged in unique learning experiences that encourage creativity and problem solving. STEAM campers will learn from local artists, cultural organizations, and professionals in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. No experience necessary! Register for any or all of the individual week sessions running Monday through Friday from June 16 - July 25 (no camp July 4). Themes change each week, so no two weeks are the same.

  • June 16-June 20: It's getting hot in here! Climate change and the environment with Annex Dance Company, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, musician Philip Lipton, and Storytree Theater
  • June 23-June 27: Bonds and Big Bangs: Chemical reactions with Garage Bank and musician Tom Noren, dance with the Charleston Performing Arts Center, dance and visual arts with Heal with Hearts, and Storytree Theater
  • June 30-July 4: Outta this world! Blast off with Charleston Stage, storyteller Tim Dillinger, musicians from Hungry Monk, and Art Connects
  • July 7-July 11: So you think you can fly? Force Motion and Superheroes with Annex Dance Company, Mary Harris with prints from the Gibbes Museum of Art, musicians from Hungry Monk, and Art Connects
  • July 14-July 18: Rhythm, Robots and RAM with musician Tom Noren, Charleston Stage, Becky Becker’s Box of Puppets, and visual artist Kris Westerson using digital art technology
  • July 21 - July 25: Mathematical Beauty in Nature: the Golden Ratio with Kirk Sprinkles from the Charleston Performing Arts Center, visual artist and writer Kathleen Fox, the Hero Project with Deborah Meyer, and visual artist Cathie Murdaugh
Summer STEAM is located at the Charleston County School of the Arts. Camp hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. with breakfast, lunch and healthy snacks included in the price each day. Cost is $200 per week for individual weeks or $175 per week if registering for three or more weeks. Students are grouped age appropriately with a 5:1 student-to-certified teacher ratio. Fridays are dedicated to Think Tank Challenges in which community professionals engage students in solving real-world problems. For more information or to register, visit engagingcreativeminds.org  or call 843.789.0450. About Engaging Creative Minds Engaging Creative Minds is a nonprofit organization that captures the unique talents of local artists, cultural organizations, and innovative community partners to help students achieve high standards through imagination and innovation. Our mission is to inspire the creative and innovative potential of all students to achieve academically and become imaginative, adaptable, and productive adults resulting in stronger communities and an increasingly competitive South Carolina workforce. Our unique public/private partnership design provides equal access to quality, standards-based, creative learning opportunities, curriculum, and integrated instruction in Engaging Creative Mind schools, as well as professional development for Charleston County School District teachers, principals, and staff.