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By SHEL SEGAL
As school is now in session, students in Rosemead should be happy to know there is a place they can go once the final bell rings.
Taking place in the afternoon at Bitely Elementary School, Woodcraft Rangers is giving students something to do academically while having fun doing it.
Luis Salas, program manager for Woodcraft Rangers, said the curriculum is slightly different from what you will find at other after school programs.
“Our program is a wonderful program because we offer the same components that other after school programs offer, and infuse STEM in all of our programs, which is science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Salas said.
He added that is keeping his program in step with many local school districts.
“It’s important because of some of the directions the school districts are taking,” Salas said. “We are enhancing what they are doing during the school day by doing Common Core through our STEM activities. We’re also building it into our fun activities.”
Salas also said the science activities at the site run the gamut of the field.
“We have different types of science activities, from robotics to programming,” he said. “We also do circuit board training, and then we have (students making volcanoes).”
Natalie Pinedo, site coordinator, said most of the students there are having a good time while learning.
“We support what the teachers are teaching during school,” Pinedo said. “We make it less of a classroom environment and more of a fun activity for the kids to do. The kids are getting the knowledge on all the activities they are doing and it’s fun for them.”
She added the program is free and is funded by several educational grants.
“It’s open to everyone,” Salas said. “We do have a selective process at the end of the year. We have a pre-registration process. It gets so crazy that we get parents arriving at 6 in the morning to line up and save a spot for their students.”
Salas said there is a limit, however, as to how many kids they can take.
“We try to accommodate as many students as possible,” he said. “Our cap should be about 85, but we like to serve a few more students. We like to listen to our parents. We understand their needs. We accept them into our program based on the availability of staff.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be followed via Twitter @segallanded.)