MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Sept.12, 2011) – The ability to confidently embrace digital and social media services has become a vital prerequisite to effective participation in the global digital economy. In San Jose, middle schools students will gain those skills through a new pilot program by the Bay Area After-School All-Stars and Shmoop, with a grant of $50,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
The grant will support collaboration between the comprehensive programs of the Bay Area After-School All-Stars and the tech-savvy vision of Shmoop to teach critical reasoning and credible content analysis of online sources by middle school students.
“Every boy scout knows that being prepared is often the most important element in life. Shmoop deploys the power of the internet, social media and other publishing tools to help students achieve their goals, maybe even their dreams,” said Ellen Siminoff, CEO of Shmoop. “The Internet is a kind of educational automobile - used properly, it gets students around better and faster; used irresponsibly, cars crash.”
As public schools have had to narrow their purview as they focus on everyday challenges, comprehensive after-school programs have stepped in to complement those areas where school districts recognize they are falling short. After-School All-Stars is located in 23 school-sites across the Bay Area, serving as one of twelve chapters across the country with free comprehensive programs.
“This collaboration with Shmoop allows us to teach students to be good information consumers,” said Crysta Krames, Director of Development for the Bay Area After-School All-Stars. “Lower-income students are in particular need of media literacy education to remain competitive in school and the workforce.”
Students will work from HP NetBooks purchased as part of this grant, under the guidance of the After-School All-Stars staff and Shmoop’s tangible, relatable questions, to help them become more media literate and understand the literature and history content taught during their school day from multiple sources presented on the web.
Shmoop is a digital curriculum and test prep company that makes fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. Shmoop content is written by master teachers and Ph.D. students from Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities. Shmoop Learning Guides, Test Prep, SAT, and Teacher’s Editions balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. Shmoop offers more than 10,000 titles across the Web, iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company has been honored twice by the Webby Awards and was named “Best in Tech” for 2010 and 2011 by Scholastic Administrator. Launched in 2008, Shmoop is headquartered in a labradoodle-patrolled office in Mountain View, Calif.
About Bay Area After-School All-Stars
The Bay Area After-School All-Stars provides free, comprehensive, out-of-school programming for underserved youth. We focus on enriching the mind, body, and character of every child we serve, giving them the skills and self confidence needed to more fully engage in the core school day. Our program operates Monday through Friday from the time school is out until 6p.m. Time with students is built around three components: Academic Hour, Enrichment Classes that highlight leadership skills and service-learning, Health and Fitness Programs that include competitive sports.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.
More at knightfoundation.org.