Our Stories

Summer classes with no pressure, no tests, and no grades

PEF is the recipient of the 2019 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Foundation new “Tier 1” award,  $25,000 per year over the next two years.

The grant is supporting a brand new project for PUSD students in grades 6 through 9 who need additional support in English or Math. The project, which involves youth in PEF’s established Summer Enrichment Program, is designed to explore the question, “What if students who are struggling were engaged in a supportive educational environment with no pressure, no tests, and no grades, where the enjoyment of learning is more important than anything else? Would the students’ confidence in themselves increase, leading to an improvement in their skills?”

Over the next three summers, the goal is to engage a total of 80 students and evaluate the results.  All students receive a scholarship to participate.  They must take one English or one Math class each day, but the other two classes are theirs to choose from an array of offerings in the Arts, Health & Fitness, STEM, and more.  And in addition to no tests and no grades, there are no labels.  Nobody except the teacher – not even the students themselves – knows they are there because they need academic support.

Each year, we’ll make adjustments to the program based on what we learned in the previous summer.  In the end, we’ll report to the community and the school district on the answer to the question, “what if?’

– David Spiro, Grants Director
Pasadena Educational Foundation