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Grant will fund summer STEM camps for Spanish-speaking students

Hillsboro and Forest Grove school districts have collaborated to win a $193,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Revitalization grant from the Oregon Department of Education, one of nine grants awarded across the state.

The grant will support a summertime “Si, Se Puede Technology Camp,” designed to expose native Spanish speakers to career and post-secondary opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields; increase their participation in CTE programs of study; teach key STEM skills and concepts; and introduce them to state-of-the-art software and technology used in high-wage, high-demand careers, including drafting, robotics, electronics, computer programming and advanced manufacturing.

The camp will be held at Hillsboro High School in the summers of 2016 and 2017. It will serve at least 60 Latino high school students over two weeks, and at least 60 Latino middle school students over one week, each summer. Historically underserved students will be recruited to participate in the camps, and at least 10 high school students each from the Hillsboro and Forest Grove School districts will be identified and hired as paid interns to serve as mentors.

Partners in the project include 4-H Tech Wizards, Intel, Portland Community College and R&D Plastics.

4-H Tech Wizards is a bilingual after-school mentoring program for vulnerable and marginalized youth with an interest in STEM fields. They will help write the camp's curriculum, which will incorporate best practices from their own program, as well as the Girls Get IT! summer technology camp for girls — a student-led camp that has been operating at Hilhi for several years — and recruit participants.

Si! Se Puede Technology Camp will be overseen by Brooke Nova, College and Career Coordinator for the Hillsboro School District, and Corin Richards, Director of Technology and Innovation for the Forest Grove School District.

This is the second CTE Revitalization grant Hillsboro School District has received this year. The first was awarded in January for $385,000 to support the creation of a Manufacturing Training and Learning Center at Century High School.