Robotics camp at Maryville University

Maryville University Launches Center for Access and Achievement

The Center will focus on PK-12 STEM teaching and learning initiatives

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Maryville University is launching the Center for Access and Achievement in the School of Education. The Center is focused on one goal: To prepare students in low-income school districts with the skills and abilities they need to succeed in STEM fields of study in college and in the workforce.

Known as CA2, the center will focus on science, technology, engineering and math to prepare students for the numerous jobs that exist in the St. Louis region and beyond.

Steve Coxon, associate professor and director of programs in gifted education, will direct the new center. He continues to work on a variety of programs that give students in underfunded districts in St. Louis County the boost they need to thrive, including App Dev Camp with Riverview Gardens, STEM Sprouts with Ritenour preschoolers, C3 and CREST-M STEM curriculum creation projects, Young Scholars with Ferguson-Florissant, and the Maryville Science and Robotics Program, which offers open enrollment courses in all areas of STEM for ages 4-16. These programs will all become part of the Center’s initiatives.

Each focus of the center, access and achievement, is important, Coxon said.

“Access is for students who traditionally haven’t seen college as part of their future,” Coxon said. “We can show them that it can be and it should be. Then we will give them experiences on both Maryville’s campus and in schools and afterschool programs to help them on their way.”

“We’re not just enrolling students who would already be successful, but finding untapped potential and helping kids realize their individual potential.”

To increase achievement, he said, CA2 will help teachers incorporate techniques that let students take a more active role in their own education.

“Passive learning is the teacher lecturing or writing on a chalkboard and students following along,” Coxon said. “Active learning is where students do everything, and the teacher is there more as a coach or a guide.”

This summer, 200 middle and high school students from Riverview Gardens will take part in a two-week program at Maryville that includes iPad app development as well as engaging college life activities ranging from a field day with everything from Zumba and video game competitions to learning about applying for college and how to obtain needed financial aid. The Center will also work with several partner school districts in North St. Louis County.

“It really works together with Maryville’s strategic plan and our strong leadership in education,” Coxon said. “We’re not just enrolling students who would already be successful, but finding untapped potential and helping kids realize their individual potential.”

A major goal of CA2, Coxon said, is to give students insight into experiences they may otherwise miss.

“What we really want to see in long-term results is more kids going to college,” he said. “We hope many students will come to Maryville, but we want to help prepare them for post-secondary education and future careers they wish to pursue.”

POSTSCRIPT: Thank you Fox2Now for featuring CA2!