Problem-based learning puts the emphasis on students using their creativity to solve challenges. Here's a quick guide on how to use PBL.
FUSD expanded their career-readiness enrichment programs and increased capacity over 6 times from 2021 to 2022
How FUSD partnered with Work ED to deliver impactful career-readiness programs students and parents love.Create your own custom program
Success in Numbers
student capacity created for afterschool programming
of students would recommend Work ED to a friend
Work ED staff retention
A rapid expansion of enrichment programs to include more impactful career-readiness opportunities to address learning loss.
Create programs that have the ability to attract, impact, and retain parents and students.
Programs that meet ELO-P criteria to have funding fully covered
Find a resource-rich partner that would make program initiation and operations smooth.
Quality career discovery programs
Work ED has a rich and robust curriculum that FUSD was able to choose from, offering students exciting enrichment opportunities in future-facing topics such as cybersecurity and robotics.
A turnkey solution
Because Work ED is a fully staffed solution, FUSD was able to rapidly expand its enrichment program with minimum time and resourcing.
FUSD knew that Work ED programs are designed to meet ELO-P criteria, so there were no barriers to unlocking ELO-P funding to fully cover programming.
From a rapid, impactful solution to a lasting partnership
How FUSD, partnered with Work ED to deliver effective, fully ELO-P-funded career-readiness programs that left a lasting impact on the community.
Students learning the value of teamwork and how learning can be fun in the right environment. Copyright Work ED.
The creation of a robust and effective suite of career-readiness afterschool enrichment programs for grades 1 - 8
A 6-fold year-over-year increase in program capacity in Work ED FUSD Summer programs
Over 80% of parents signed students up for subsequent programs
Students and parents noticed increase in social emotional development markers, such as confidence and collaboration
The creation of “Community Days” at the end of each program, where parents and caregivers are invited to watch their child present their projects
Fresno Unified School District (FUSD), one of the largest school districts in California, has a strong dedication to its mission statement:
“We nurture and cultivate the interests, intellect, and leadership of our students by providing an excellent, equitable education in a culturally proficient environment.”
But FUSD staff aren’t the only ones dedicated to this mission—parents equally hold them to account to make sure their children are becoming well-rounded young people who develop the skills that can take them anywhere in life.
FUSD needed a different kind of offering to add to FUSD’s afterschool programming roster.
Work ED provides fully staffed programs—with passionate, positive role models that inspire students. Copyright Work ED.
Enter Work ED.
After learning about Work ED, FUSD reached out to understand more about Work ED’s mission and purpose. And that was when the lightbulb went on.
The partnership began with Work ED in the summer of 2021—during a time when schools were still being regularly disrupted by lockdowns as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. School districts across America were under pressure to help students use the summer vacation to make up for the learning loss suffered during the lockdowns.
In California, there was an additional support system available to help with learning enrichment: The Expanded Learning Opportunities Program, or ELO-P.
Work ED's programming in California was designed to meet ELO-P funding criteria, to make it easy for school districts to run fully-funded programs.Read our free guide for using ELO-P for enrichment programs here!
And that's exactly how FUSD budgeted for the Work ED career readiness programs.
When a more regular school year resumed in 21-22, students were back in school, but school districts were struggling with staff, while the pressure to make up for learning loss through extended learning programs continued.
FUSD engaged Work ED to run in-person afterschool programming.
The program was a success, creating space for 225 students in afterschool programs that included future-facing topics such as Video Game Design and Cybersecurity.
On the back of the success of the 2022 afterschool programming, FUSD engaged Work ED for a 30-week afterschool extension, featuring a roster of 16 unique curricula that students and parents loved!
Students are encouraged to express their true selves in a fun atmosphere in Work ED programs, putting them at ease and helping them feel safe to express themselves and gain confidence. Copyright Work ED.
The story doesn’t end there—FUSD has once again engaged Work ED to deliver three 2023 summer camps for students to build on their experiences in afterschool, and continue their career-readiness journey.
Proud parents watching their children give final day presentations at the Work ED community day. Copyright Work ED.
“It was super engaging, the regular school day they don't find interesting, they don't find engaging, [but] this is something they want to do and they see a future in.”
Javan Childs - Principal, Edison Computech - (Daughter Attended the Game Camp)
"His confidence went up! He felt like he knew how to make friends, and how to communicate his needs to his teachers when he would get overwhelmed. When he came home he said 'Mom, I feel so confident today!' So, for me, that was a win."
Every part of this camp was super engaging for them, it's something they see a future in."
"The important part for me was to keep him engaged over the summer so that trajectory continues ... and this curriculum definitely helped, so we're extremely happy."
In Work ED career discovery programs, students gain confidence in their public speaking and presentation skills, culminating in a final-day presentation in front of their peers and parents. Copyright Work ED.
"It was fun! Every day was a new adventure. I can't wait to come to second session."
"Since we've been doing all these presentations and talking about our stuff I've gotten a little braver".
"I love it here! I'm gonna be very sad when I leave."
FUSD Afterschool Programs Launched
Have you wondered what makes a robot tick?
In this program you’ll learn to code a friendly robot, working as a team to help it solve challenges while learning about all the different ways you could work in robotics as a career.
Each day presents a new challenge for students to work through as they seek to solve the problems by coding the robot correctly. Students will have the opportunity to apply simple coding to overcome basic obstacles which makes it a great place for beginner coding students.
Skills & Knowledge
Students will understand the structure and different types of code that help control the systems all throughout our society. They will also gain the fundamental skills needed to pursue coding after our program while having a starting point to build off of. Whether it’s working in groups or on their own, students will gain the knowledge required to overcome basic obstacles through robotics and code.
Video Game Design
Join a newly formed Game Design Studio with your fellow classmates as you work together to create your studios’ first video game project! Your team will be tasked with coming up with the initial concept for your game, building out the prototype, and presenting it to potential investors to see your creativity take flight. Take up a role in the studio as a designer, programmer, or project manager to help contribute to the final video game concept launch! This real-life simulation with industry will teach you what it’s really like to work in game development. Learn about your passions and talent through this exciting evolution!
Students work on creating their own video game concept in teams throughout the program, defining the important elements which make a finished game such as level design, character creation, and world building. Students will need to identify who their target audience is by following our Game Design Framework and through this fun evolution pitch their game concepts to “investors” who give them constructive feedback on their ideas.
Skills & Knowledge:
From the nuances of selling their finished product to the complexities of code that bring them to life, students will get an under-the-hood look at how their favorite games are produced. By taking a look at every step of the process from brainstorming their concept to releasing it on the market, students will understand what it takes to build an intriguing game for the world to play. Additionally, students get to learn about themselves through the axis of creative and technical skills that video game creation provides, which builds a strong foundation for future career exploration.
Become a member of an Elite Cybersecurity Task Force charged with investigating major cyber crimes with your student team! Through real-world scenarios, you’ll be tasked with protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure, our citizens and our nation. Take on a new challenge each day with your team! Whether preventing cyber attacks from occurring or rectifying a cyber attack that has already happened, your team will feel the excitement of helping keep our nation safe in these engaging challenges.
Students work in teams to complete challenges investigating major cyber crimes on their computers through immersive scenarios in which they have to work collaboratively. These involve threats to our nation, American families, and private companies as well as a choose your own adventure Cyber Task Force game built by IBM. Students' final game concepts are presented to their parents so they can see their child's big new game launch!
Skills & Knowledge:
Students learn how to work toward completing a goal under time pressure and have to share their thought process of why they made their decisions. This involves building their digital literacy and presentation skills as well as time management as students learn how to allocate their time with their scarce resources. They will also gain a deeper understanding of why Cybersecurity matters and demystify this high wage career for future exploration later in life.
This program will explore e-sports as a career choice by looking at the way teams are built, which games are popular, and how to plan a successful eSports event live!
This module culminates in an opportunity for students to plan their very own eSports event that brings each piece together for a large-scale tournament finale. They will budget, plan, and accommodate for competitors and event staff to demonstrate their understanding of how these events are crafted and take place.
Skills & Knowledge
eSports is more than just playing video games and this exciting module will equip students with a much greater understanding of the events they watch online. Take a deep dive into the minds of competitive gamers and learn what it takes to compete at the highest levels. Students will be able to identify each component of the event from the nuances of managing an eSports team to the work that goes into broadcasting it to viewers across the globe and how much it costs.
Aviation & Drones
Aviation is quickly rising in the ranks as one of the high-demand tech careers with endless opportunities and exciting new applications for drone & electric vehicle use. Students will dive deep into aviation applications, careers, and how to navigate using drones in futuristic careers across the nation. Students will have the amazing opportunity to use drones to support real life challenges in helping fire firefighters, finding hikers who are lost, filming for a commercial project and also fun videos they can capture related to their passions in this interactive evolution.
Students are placed into teams and have to come up with a societal problem which a drone solution can solve. For example, climate change is increasing the number and scale of the California forest fire season. Together they develop a drone use case in which they outfit their drone through a design project with the features necessary to solve the given problem. Guided by our instructors students will try out their drone use case solutions in mock set ups on campus while learning about drone ethics. On the final day students present their final drone solutions in teams to their peers and parents on the final day!
Skills & Knowledge:
Students are building their problem solving skills helping to think critically about a societal problem and the engineering and business aspects of developing a drone solution. Presentation skills are evolved through their final project presentations and also collaborative team work which is essential to building out a comprehensive solution in this engaging challenge. Students also learn about the future of drone technology and how that is shaping the future careers they may join later in educational pathways.
Video is everywhere these days, and there are many tools that make video editing easier—but what makes a good video stand out?
Learn how to think through the video editing process so that you can make your idea come to life in the best way—and get it in front of the right audience for views and likes, or even the big screen.
Throughout the week students will be working with an easy to understand, web-based video editing software that gives them the opportunity to craft their own videos using stock footage. Using their own personal interests to fuel them, students are able to create a clip that could be used for promotional purposes or even as an addition to their portfolio. Students also get to receive feedback from their peers on the final presentation.
Skills & Knowledge
While social media has put a video editor in the hands of everyone with a smartphone, being able to understand the fundamentals of what makes a good edit will give students the skills and knowledge to create even better videos in the future. They will know how to source footage, edit it to show exactly what they want, and polish the entire project before showcasing it to an audience.
See first hand how popular apps such as Tik Tok and IG use the foundational concepts of Technology to engage with users all over the world! In teams learn how to use your Design Thinking mindset to envision your own tech company and first app launch. Through this evolution you and your team will bring together your creativity and tech mindset to your new found product which can shape the world and society around you!
Students will learn to identify the components of an app and how to apply techniques to solve simple problems. First, they will use paper and pen to work their ideas on to a paper proto-type and then use simple drag and drop builders to mock their ideas up on screen. Then, they show off their app mockups to other students to test their user experience to find where users get confused and how they can continue to improve their design. Final project presentations include a Q&A day with their parents and peers while celebrating their big new launch!
Skills & Knowledge:
Understanding how people solve problems with technology and translating ideas into design components is vital to thriving in the 21st Century Landscape. Students will understand how ideation takes place on pen and paper and how to use drag and drop builders to bring their ideas to life. This process is the same process that happens in the “Google design sprint” methodology that is used in developing the innovative technologies of today. This immersive experience aligns with important problem solving and critical thinking skills as students foresee design challenges and in teams develop solutions with an engineering mindset.
Storytelling & World Building
Storytelling is an essential part of effective communication. We show you how to develop this powerful tool and use the Storybrand framework which breaks down how all stories work at their core. Dive deep with us into creating realistic worlds where heroes take on seemingly impossible adventures and see first hand the importance of story plots. We have the opportunity to tell our story every day in school, work, or simply while hanging out with friends so let’s explore how to tell a compelling story which captivates our listeners.
As students learn what makes up a compelling story throughout the week they will apply their understanding to the creation of a Storybrand which will be shared with the class that includes the following components: character, problem, guide, plan, action, success & failure. Students can mix & match examples of each of these components that are presented in the project to create a unique story. Students also detail their world with the people, places, and systems that make it up. This gives students an opportunity to tell an entire story of a hero who is called to action in order to solve a major problem like in classic stories such as Star Wars and Frozen.
Skills & Knowledge:
Students learn that stories all have the same components which create the power of story. They will develop a deeper sense of how to keep people engaged when speaking about a specific topic helping them in many facets of their lives. Understanding how to convey emotion helps our youth better empathize with others a key skill needed to thrive both personally and professionally.
From job interviews to making new friends, storytelling is all around us. By sharing with classmates students will gain the skills needed to be confident in their public speaking as well as their ability to weave together an engaging story.
Come together with your fellow students to develop your own startup business and first product idea! See what's made other companies successful like Nike, Adidas, Instagram and Tik Tok and use your team's creativity to develop your first idea. After learning how to identify your customer and validate their problems it's onto the fun part, creating a solution! Creating a great product is just as important as finding customers to buy it. How will you sell your product to your customer? How will it solve the customer’s problem? What new value will you create for your customer? How do you compare to the competitors? Learn from real companies’ successes and failures while creating solutions for customers, just like you will with your startup team. This real-life simulation will teach you the realities of working in the business world and the challenges you would face everyday.
Students are placed into teams to form their first company and first product or service they build around a societal problem or need. Students will identify why the product matters to their customer and how it is solving their problem. Through the given industry framework students will build out the product design, marketing pieces, pricing, and overall their team “pitch” to investors seeking to support their company's big new launch!
Skills & Knowledge:
Students will learn a scoped down and simplified version of the lean methodology: picking a problem, identifying who has this problem and who would buy a potential solution. Ideating a solution and how to gather information on whether people like your solution enough to buy. Students need to think critically beyond just a tagline.
From movie and concert posters to logos and flyers, Graphic Design is almost everywhere you look. Learn how to apply color theory, typography, and other creative concepts as you create your own flashy designs! The difference between good and poor design choices can make or break your event and product brand which could turn people away completely. This is more than just an art class as students take a critical look at the nuances of design and make decisions that influence how others interpret their product.
Each day students will work with the approachable and easy to use software Canva. After getting a chance to practice with the program their final project culminates with an open-ended design project that allows them to put their skills to the test. By creating a movie poster, promotional flier for an event, or even a business logo, students can be confident in their design skills and share their creations with the class.
Skills & Knowledge:
By focusing on concepts like color theory, typography, and layout principles, students will be able to develop the skills and knowledge to design anything they can put their minds to. This module also gives students an opportunity to view creations with a critical eye to break down each piece and understand the choices that go into crafting complex designs.
Discover More From the Work ED blog
- A guide to using problem-based learning in schools
- How educators can use career technical education to create opportunities for youth
Career technical education is an effective framework for educators to give youth the skills and spark they need to thrive in the real world.
- What are the benefits of afterschool programs? A guide for parents
A handy guide to help parents and caregivers to find the best afterschool program for their child.
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