SHINE is unique

SHINE is more than just an afterschool program. It is a holistic approach to education that supports a student’s success both in and out of the classroom through the connection of schools, homes and communities. The program is designed to be a seamless network of educational and social services that help students to achieve their potential.

The SHINE Afterschool Program is administered by Lehigh Carbon Community College and is funded in full or in part with a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The history of SHINE

The SHINE program’s development can be traced to a visionary plan initiated in Carbon County, PA in 2002. A Collaborative Board was formed to build a network of prevention in Carbon and Schuylkill counties that would allow students to thrive both in and out of the classroom.

In 2005, SHINE opened its first centers in three Carbon County school districts. In 2007, SHINE expanded into Schuylkill County, operating out of the Mahanoy Area and Shenandoah Valley school districts.

The SHINE Afterschool Program now maintains 12 centers throughout Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. Since its inceptions, SHINE has more than tripled the number of children served and encompasses seven public schools, one technical school and four parochial schools.

In 2022 SHINE will begin operating a center in the Northern Lehigh School District.

“What started as an afterschool program in 2003 to provide students with a safe environment to improve their studying skills and learn about career paths has grown into a model for afterschool programs across the country”.

Sara Hoden, Aspire Magazine

STEM education

Since its inception in 2005, SHINE has placed a focus on STEM initiatives. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – is an academic approach designed to develop students’ aptitudes in areas that are critical to the developing workforce.

Jobs in STEM fields will expand faster than non-STEM jobs, expected to grow 8.0 percent by 2029, compared with 3.7 percent for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

STEM activities focus on high priority occupations and SHINE places emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. SHINE lessons are designed to incorporate multiple disciplines into every project and empower students to use all their knowledge and skills to achieve results.

In 2004, the Carbon Schuylkill Luzerne (CSL) STEM Ecosystem was formed with the SHINE Afterschool Program at its center. The CSL Ecosystem’s mission is to give students a solid STEM learning foundation to prepare them for college and/or future employment.

Hands on learning

The SHINE Afterschool Program’s model places emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning. Teachers develop creative lesson plans that are designed to immerse students in the learning experience. Project-based and focused themes capture the interest of students and incorporate goals of individualized lesson plans.

Students are referred to the SHINE Afterschool Program by a classroom teacher or guidance counselor. The typical SHINE student needs a jump start in reading and/or math, and perhaps does not learn in the traditional way. The SHINE curriculum motivates and encourages all students to achieve their full potential.

SHINE students have access to Makerspace classrooms, which provide access to both high-tech and no-tech materials. Thanks to generous public and private funding, SHINE has invested in educational technologies such as zSpace Learning Experiences, NAO v5 Evolution Robots, 3D printers and drone kits.

AT&T invests in job training and workforce. We need STEM workers and we are quite happy to be a partner of the ecosystem.”

David Kerr, Vice President of External Affairs, AT&T

Responding to challenges

The SHINE Afterschool Program responded quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SHINE staff was in regular, direct communication with local school boards and administrators to establish a learning model adapted to virtual learning. Utilizing platforms like Google Classroom, Zoom and Class Dojo, students were able to attend SHINE virtually. As schools began to reopen, SHINE adapted as required.

Teachers, families and students alike noticed that “pandemic life” was easier when students could enjoy some of their favorite activities – even if they were socially-distanced. SHINE was able to continue an experiential learning model through the delivery of monthly “STEAM Bags”. Filled with materials for a variety of projects, as well as some surprise gifts, the STEAM bags allowed students to work together on projects from their own homes.

The SHINE Afterschool Program has offered students and families a consistent and trusted resource throughout the pandemic. As situations change and evolve, the SHINE family will continue to rise to the occasion.

Your support really helped my daughter make it through virtual learning

lehighton Area Parent