Two female students working on STEM projects at a table. Male student working on a STEM project outside on deck.

PWCS is the fortunate recipient of a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Military Support Grant. The DoDEA grant supports the social-emotional wellbeing of students as well as developing and nurturing an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities and achievement. Due to the funding and support permitted by this grant, military-connected students from Ashland, Henderson, and Old Bridge Elementary Schools, Porter Traditional School, Potomac Middle School, and Forest Park High School were able to participate in several STEM opportunities.

Elementary school students attended Camp Invention CONNECT, a virtual version of Camp Invention. Originally, the students were to attend in-person camps held at their local elementary schools. Due to the effects of COVID-19, the camp took place virtually. Each family received a box of supplies and participated in virtual check-ins each day of the scheduled camp week. The students participated in activities such as building a light-emitting diode (LED) flower, building their own sports stadium, and taking apart a robot.

Adrienne Stewart, a parent of a third-grade student at Ashland Elementary had positive feedback about the program. "Our daughter had an amazing opportunity this summer with Camp Invention CONNECT where she was able to build, innovate, design, and engineer different projects strengthening her knowledge in science. We are grateful for the opportunity! She had so much fun meeting with her teacher and peers daily via Zoom to share their inventions!"

After Virginia moved to phase three, 10 military students participated in an in-person camp hosted by Prince William Forest Park. The two-day Spy Camp allowed students to learn about the training conducted by the Office of Strategic Service (OSS) in the 1940s. Students practiced knot tying, first aid, codes, ciphers, Morse code, and they hiked and navigated in the woods of the national park.

PWCS DoDEA Military Grant Project Director Courtney Power elaborated on the goals of the summer programs by sharing, "One of our goals is to help military-connected students bond with each other and our greater PWCS community all while having fun and learning. The STEM opportunities this summer met that goal and then some."

For more information on the program, please visit the PWCS DoDEA Grants information page.