This winter break, Columbia Middle School’s Beyond the Bell program was a recipient of the generous support of Spansion’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy, one area of which is Community Service.
Spansion, Inc., maker of embedded flash memory, is headquartered in Sunnyvale. When Spansion Senior Vice President, Carmine Renzulli, reached out to former Sunnyvale mayor, Pat Castillo, asking how his company could help the community, Mrs. Castillo, a passionate supporter of local schools, referred Mr. Renzulli to Sunnyvale School District superintendent, Dr. Benjamin Picard. Dr. Picard readily suggested sponsorship for CMS’s Beyond the Bell program since it was in danger of being cut as a result of tight budget this year.
Columbia Middle School (CMS) has been partnering with Columbia Neighborhood Center in putting together a hands-on, multi-disciplinary enrichment program, Beyond the Bell Winter Camp, for three years. Students qualified for the program are recommended by their teachers and invited to attend. Thus far, the program can only accommodate 60 students. Students attend project-based sessions in the morning. Classes are taught by five CMS teachers and emphasize in Math and Language Arts. After lunch, students continue their hands-on learning at one of three field trip destinations: Junior Golf (Sunken Gardens Golf Course in Sunnyvale), Art (Euphrat Museum of Art at De Anza College in Cupertino), and Local Farming & Organic Food (at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale). With Spansion’s generous grant, the fee for each student is only $20 for four days of camp, including breakfast, lunch, and transportation to afternoon activities.
Mary Beth Allmann, Columbia Middle School principal, shared that teachers have noticed students who participated in the Winter Camp became more engaged and interested in learning when they return to school after the break.
Article by Nina Wong-Dobkin