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From Robotics To Photography To Cooking, Pasadena LEARNs Engages PUSD Students

Published on Saturday, November 17, 2012 | 5:22 am

What do you do when you have 3,000 young people with time on their hands and a natural curiosity to discover new things? The answer is to engage them with learning opportunities with Pasadena LEARNs.

The summer program of Pasadena LEARNs  ends July 19, but the new school year’s after-school programs will begin when school starts again on August 22.

“The purpose of Pasadena LEARNs is to provide innovative enrichment activities for students of the Pasadena Unified School District,” states Dr. Denise Collier. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for the students outside of the school day. We really have a wide variety of activities we provide for the students after school.”

With classes or activities in science, cooking, photography and leadership, Collier maintains that LEARNs has something to interest nearly every student. She says they also do homework with kids, have a book club, and also do math enrichment.

“We have everything from robotics to chess classes and even some language classes after school,” says Collier. “We do performing arts, everything from choir to dance classes. Recently, we had a film class where the kids learned to make short videos.”

Pasadena LEARNs serves more than 3,000 students daily at 22 school sites in PUSD. The program is very popular among students and the available spaces fill up very quickly.

“Kids are there because they really want to learn,” Collier says. “Our funding is already in place for next school year and we’re already registering students. Some of our programs are already full because they are very popular.”

Working families sometimes need after-school care to fill the gap between the end of a child’s school day and the end of the work day. The after-school programs of PUSD offer academics, athletics, music, art and other subjects that engage students in safe settings so that parents can complete their work day without worry.

So how does a child qualify for Pasadena LEARNs?

“All they have to do is apply,” explains Collier. “At some schools, we have a waiting list, so it’s a first-come first-serve basis. There are federal and state grants and if their school has a grant, they can apply to attend. We do have limited funding, so even our arts program is limited.”

PUSD also partners with other local organizations to provide additional after-school programs on certain campuses. Contact your school or the Pasadena LEARNs department to learn more about other high-quality after-school options.

“We are looking for partnerships,” adds Collier.  “The great thing about Pasadena is that there are so many community-based organizations that provide free services or reduced-fee services. We are also always looking for volunteers to come be part of LEARNs.

“I’ve been with Learns for more than four years. I was a teacher and administrator before. It’s fun and engaging and we can do things that time does not allow in the regular school year. It’s a great opportunity for students to have fun and learn more,” concludes Collier.

Every Pasadena LEARNs site is open until 6:00 p.m. daily. Parents must adhere to their early release and late arrival policy. For more informatio about Pasadena LEARNs visit their website at:

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