“Our focus is really on high quality school-based, community powered after school and summer programming (what we call Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) programs),” Cole says. BSB is utilizing Think Make Create (TMC) Labs and Career Education curriculum to further enhance learning and engage students with hands-on experiences that allow for and encourage local support and interaction.
The TMC Labs were designed to address three challenges that rural ELO programs face: storage space for supplies, lack of local recognition and long-term sustainability, and materials and programming to support hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) tinkering and activities. BSB transforms seven- by twelve-foot trailers into custom-designed mobile STEM learning platforms and gifts them to rural communities to use as fully equipped pop-up classrooms in a way that supports their programming.
“In just the last year-and-a-half, our fleet has grown from two to 13 across the state,” Cole says. BSB provides a graphics package and support to attract local sponsorships, to replenish supplies as needed, engage community participation and ensure long-term sustainability. “The TMC itself is a mobile billboard for advertising community partnerships,” he adds.
Similarly, BSB’s “So You Want To Be A…” Career Education curriculum answers the growing interest across the state to take advantage of fourth through eighth grade ELO programming as an early onramp to get kids thinking about career possibilities.