Camps Show Power of Community Partnerships
Forty-four underserved school-age children enjoyed a week of science camp at the Gateway Science Museum this summer, thanks to the generosity of the Chico community and supporters of the Gateway.
The fourth- and fifth-graders from Egling Middle School in Colusa, some of whom had never left their town, took the 30-minute bus ride daily to participate in hands-on projects, outdoor lessons, and field trips to local parks and preserves as part of the Gateway Science Camps. The youngsters were supported in full by community and business donations made at An Evening to Treasure, the Gateway’s annual fall fundraising gala.
Each year, An Evening to Treasure seeks donations in support of the museum’s initiatives and activities. At the 2012 gala, an auction to support the science camps secured $22,000 for the program. In addition, Tri-Counties Bank donated nearly $10,000 to sponsor a second week of camp for underserved students.
The Raise Your Paddle funds were also sufficient to aid in underwriting two weeks of camp, making those camps more affordable for an additional 45 students, according to Gateway Science Museum Director Renee Renner. Several donors at the fall fundraising event also purchased items on the Gateway’s “wish list,” and a number of local businesses and organizations provided in-kind donations and discounts to make the sponsored camps a reality, she says.
“The goal of both sponsored camp weeks was to provide a fun and educational science and engineering camp opportunity to underserved children,” says Renner.
With this year’s camp theme focusing on environmental stewardship, the young students learned about renewable energy and conservation through hands-on wind turbines, solar ovens, and oil spill activities. Camp favorites like tie-day, electronic snap-circuits, and Scribbler robots added to the fun. Field trips to the Butte Creek Ecological Preserve, the Valene Smith Anthropology Museum, the University’s corpse flower, and the Associated Students’ compost display kept the students interested and engaged throughout the week.
Seniors Score High on National Exam Assessing Learning
CSU, Chico seniors scored exceptionally high this spring on a national test assessing analytical thinking and writing skills. This is the fifth time CSU, Chico seniors fared well on the exam compared with students across the country.
The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), sponsored by the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education, tests freshman and senior performance in four areas: Analytic Reasoning and Evaluation, Writing Effectiveness, Writing Mechanics, and Problem Solving. The 90-minute exam requires students to compose an argument and/or critique other arguments.
The CLA exam was established to test the extent to which students at a particular college or university are learning high-level skills over the course of their undergraduate careers. Exam results for seniors—called value-added scores—show whether they meet, exceed, or fall below expectations for how well they should perform on the test. Their expected exam scores are determined by a formula based on the test-takers’ own SAT or ACT scores and CLA results of freshmen at their school who took the test.
Last academic year, 145 U.S. colleges and universities asked entering freshmen in the fall and graduating seniors in the spring to take the CLA exam. Institutional scores were then compared among the participating schools.
In the 2012–2013 CLA exam, CSU, Chico seniors scored overall in the 99th percentile compared to seniors at the other 144 U.S. universities. Bill Loker, dean of Undergraduate Education, says the total value-added score for CSU, Chico’s senior test-takers was the highest in the nation. He says results from the prior two years are almost as strong, and CSU, Chico seniors have scored above or well above results expected for them based on freshmen scores and their SAT scores for the five years the CLA test has been administered in the CSU.
The CLA results can be accessed at www.csuchico.edu/ued/announcements/cla_results.shtml.