Kid Spark Summer Camp Empowers

 ELL Learners in Manatee County, Florida


Webb City, MO — 04/18/2024  - By Amal Abuqawod

Kid Spark team member Amal recently had an insightful conversation with Carol Foye, an educator at Manatee School District in Manatee County, Florida. For the past two years, Carol has utilized the Kid Spark program to enhance a summer school initiative catering to middle school-aged English Language Learners (ELL). Carol provides valuable insights into the program's versatility, effectiveness in language learning, and the positive impact the program has had on both teachers and students. Through Carol's perspective, we gain a deeper understanding of how Kid Spark's hands-on applied curriculum has transformed STEM education for ELL students and teachers without a traditional STEM background.

Amal:  Tell me about how you’ve been using our program.

Carol:  We've been running a summer camp for English Language Learners (ELL) in Middle School, lasting four weeks from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. It's proven helpful for both teachers and students. 

Amal:  Why did you decide to implement a Kid Spark STEM Program?

Carol:  The decision to implement Kid Spark came from data analysis revealing a significant lack of science education for ELL students in Manatee School District. The curriculum we used from Kid Spark has proven to be effective for learning both STEM and English language learning. We actually incorporate additional vocabulary into the Kid Spark lessons and it complements it very well. 

Amal:  Tell me a little bit about your overall experience using the Kid Spark program.

Carol:  One notable aspect is that anyone, even non-specialists, can successfully teach with the provided Kid Spark materials. English teachers with no STEM background have successfully taught the program. We conduct pre and post-tests for grant purposes and find the program accessible to students with or without interruptions in their education. This is important because we see a lot of students who have had disruptions in their education. 

The visuals built into Kid Spark work so well for ELL students. Traditional science textbooks often require translation or visual aids, but Kid Spark is accessible from the start. The convergent to divergent learning approach that the Kid Spark curriculum follows aligns with best practices in language learning, making it suitable for an ELL setting. The program's accessibility and visual aids make it a common language for diverse learners.

Amal:  What are some of the ways that the program has positively impacted your students?

Carol:  One student, who came from Ukraine just after the war started, didn’t speak much at first. She became vocal during Kid Spark lessons and challenges. I heard her screaming with joy when she completed a challenge! It really took her out of her own head. There was another little boy from Afghanistan, he was restless and had a hard time sitting still. When he completed a challenge and actually made something move, you could see the shock on his face. The material is really engaging, and being able to build things that work is huge for the students.


🌍 Join the STEM Education Revolution!

Kid Spark’s core mission is addressing persistent STEM education disparities, focusing on empowering girls, low-income youth, and children of color. Our aim is to close the STEM opportunity gap by fostering early and continuous STEM learning, countering the prevalent lack of STEM education, notably in underserved communities. To learn more about our programs and impact, please visit

Do you want to bring the benefits of the Kid Spark STEM program to your school or afterschool program? We're here to help you get started! Contact us today to learn how you can ignite curiosity, inspire innovation, and empower students through hands-on STEM learning.

For more information about Kid Spark Education, please visit


Partner with Us!

We're committed to partnering with organizations that are dedicated to providing STEM opportunities for children in underserved communities. We actively seek out corporate, nonprofit, and other peers to leverage their strengths with ours - and expand the STEM talent pool together. Fill out the form below and we'll be in touch soon!