Exploration Station was developed during the spring of 2016 at the behest of DCPS elementary school principals to help address "Summer Slide". Summer Slide is the loss of learning that takes place during breaks from academic activity.

Watch this Exploration Station Video to find out more about DCPS efforts to take learning into student neighborhoods during the summer of 2016 and this Summer 2017 Exploration Station Video.

During the summer of 2016, Exploration Station took part in a seven-week summer program. Six DCPS elementary schools went to ten neighborhoods to provide challenging academic pursuits for students. All of the schools focused on some form of literacy with some schools focused on Accelerated Reader, while others focused on individual conferences with students relating to books read. Schools provided math, science, arts, social studies and physical activities.

Thousands of books were collected during spring book drives and distributed to any child who came to Exploration Station.

More than 5,550 meals and snacks were given to children on Exploration Station through the Summer Feeding Program during it's visits to neighborhoods and community events such as Friday After Five, World Refugee Day and OHRH Back-To-School.

Exploration Station is making a difference!

The First Two Weeks of Summer 2016

Exploration Station is making an impact on kids!

The first week out, more than 350 students and their families stopped by to Explore with us!!!

Hundreds of books were collected during book drives sponsored by Exploration Station; these books are being offered for free to any student visiting Exploration Station.

During the first three weeks, more than 325 children per week have utilized educational services on the bus. While each site offers different services based upon student educational needs, most neighborhood visits feature some combination of reading and literacy skills, math skills and games, science experiments, physical activities and arts and crafts. In addition to academic resources, students at most sites are also provided with a nutritious lunch through the DCPS Summer Feeding Program.

Southern Oaks Elementary School principal Jennifer Humphrey and her staff decided to take Exploration Station into a neighborhood with a high population of Somalian and Burmese refugees and migrant families. "Our refugee and migrant populations struggle with written and verbal English skills," Humphrey said. "Last week, we set up four stations (two inside and two outside the bus) focusing on 'The Ocean.' We read stories with students and played iPad games inside. Outside, staff supervised math games, such as tossing 'fish' into hula hoops for earn points, which students were responsible for adding up for their scores; and we provided a water experiment for a science component. With more than 40 students showing up each week, we keep them moving from station to station to keep them academically engaged."

Cindy Appleby, principal at Whitesville Elementary School, said, "Our students are so pumped up about Exploration Station! We've been averaging more than 50 students a week at Whitesville Park. Students have taken more than 40 Accelerated Reader tests in just the first two weeks, which will help them get a jump-start on reading goals for the coming school year."

"Exploration Station is keeping learning alive for our DCPS kids during the summer," said Jimmy Lyddane, DCPS director of elementary schools. "It's not simply about teaching our students a lesson for the day when the bus arrives in the students' neighborhood. We are hoping the children learn by creating curiosity and that sparks the learning process for their entire lifetime."

In addition to more than 60 visits scheduled throughout the summer, Exploration Station has partnered with Friday After 5 and is scheduled to be at downtown on Veterans Boulevard every Friday through Aug. 5. Community members are encouraged to drop off age-appropriate books. Elementary and middle school Accelerated Reader books are especially in high demand.

In The Beginning . . . 

The Foundation for DCPS, in partnership with SFG (Specialty Foods Group), is in the process of providing a unique and exciting opportunity for businesses and individuals in our community to invest in educational enhancements for DCPS students.

DCPS has rebuilt the engine of a retired bus; SFG and community sponsors will renovate the Exploration Station.

Exploration Station will have a variety of functions with the primary focus being on taking educational enhancement opportunities into areas with a history of academic challenges. The Summer Feeding Program will also be a part of Exploration Station neighborhood visits.

Exploration Station will be a 'learning environment on wheels' that will take Summer Learning Academy, after school programming, FAFSA and college application assistance, etc. into areas of need.

Exploration Station will be the collection point for items that can be donated by those with excess to those in need. Bus 'Drives' will include Book Drives, School Supply Drives, Coat and Toy Drives.

The possibilities for Exploration Station's contributions to improving a love of learning and access to educational tools to improve student success are endless.

For sponsorship information, click here.