About la Academia de Verano
La Academia de Verano (The Summer Academy) models the schools of the future and reduces summer learning loss among vulnerable students in Chile. Each summer, over a thousand students ages 10 to 18, representing over 200 different public schools, come together to make new friends and learn from inspiring teachers about fascinating topics. During the Summer Academy, each student takes two academic courses and one sports class, all of which are interdisciplinary and project-based. As a result, the Summer Academy exposes students to new ideas that reshape their relationship with education, demonstrating that learning can be fun, inspiring, and motivating.
In addition to providing meaningful summer learning experiences to students, the Summer Academy is also an innovative professional development space for teachers. Each year, we put out an open call for teachers to submit ideas for original courses that they are particularly passionate about. Teachers participate in an intensive three-day training boot camp to learn the Project Based Learning (PBL) methodology and plan their course using the PBL sequence. As a result, each summer we are able to offer dozens of engaging, challenging, and academically rigorous courses.
Some of our inspiring courses:
- Colonization of Mars: How can we make mars a livable colony? Students in this course choose among multiple possible projects, from designing a prototype for a rocket to writing an alternative ending to the film “the Martian” to holding a debate about which form the new government should take.
- Recording with Violeta: What would Chilean poet and musician Violeta Parra’s music be like today? Students study the works of Violeta Parra and create original music inspired by her work.
- The New Society: Imagine we all left earth for the new planet Terra Nova. How should we structure our brand-new society? After a reflection of ethics and philosophy, students develop a manifesto for their new society and present it through an artistic representation of their choice.
- English for the Zombie Apocalypse: Imagine that the world is ending and we need to survive by communicating with other cultures, using a common language. Students learn English and create projects to address the impending crisis, from a global plan of action to an original play.
The academic model of the Summer Academy has been effective in increasing student motivation and interest in learning, allowing students to develop key cognitive and socioemotional skills.
In particular, we have found that:
- 90% of students feel that during the Summer Academy they learn skills that will help them succeed in school.
- 70% of students credit the Summer Academy with opening them up to new possibilities of work or study.
- 85% of students would recommend the Summer Academy to a friend.
- 92% of teachers would recommend teaching at the Summer Academy to a colleague.
- 91% of parents believe the program had a high educational value for their children.