Summer Newport Experience

What was your driving question?

How can we help kids be kids again, get them outside, and build relationships?

Grades Involved

6th through 8th

How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

It created learner-centered opportunities for kids to build relationships and engage with their interests through community partnerships and projects during their summer break from school.

What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Project Description

The Summer Newport Experience is a program through Fabnewport where middle school students choose themed cabins in different community ‘villages’ where they can explore topics that interest them and build meaningful relationships with peers, mentors, and community partners. Each cabin theme is developed by a learning team made up of one to two community partners, a Newport public school teacher, a Newport resident, a high school lead learner, a college student, and five to six middle school students. The cabin curriculum is collaborative and kids get to choose their group based on personal preference. There were three villages with three different themed cabins throughout the summer. The first village had cabins with golfing, hiking, and entrepreneurship themes, the second with ocean, music, and farming themes, and the third with self-care and black history, art, and surfing themes. Student outcomes for this summer experience focused on engagement and belonging and were measured through pre and post-empathy interviews regarding student experience. Stories were a large part of evaluating the success of the programs.


How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

Students were able to collaborate with community partners in projects related to their themed cabin. The makeup of the cabin learning teams helped community partners feel a sense of ownership and structure with the program. The connection between this program and community partners allowed both students and partners to be positively involved in community impact and served to create a greater relationship and sense of belonging between students and the community.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

One of the biggest challenges during the Summer Newport Experience was transportation. Students would oftentimes want to have flexibility in trying new things or exploring different cabins, but it was difficult to accommodate that flexibility because the transportation was limited to ten students for each cabin. In the future, the program is hoping for cabin leaders to get their chauffeur licenses so that they can rent vans and transport students more easily. Another opportunity for growth is providing better training for community partners about working with black and brown students in educational settings. Many of the students participating in the Newport Summer Experience are black and brown, so it is important for community partners and all participants to be aware of how to best serve and work with these students. One of the most rewarding aspects of the project was seeing how engaged and content students were from being involved in the program. Students would often come home tired and with smiles on their faces. Having a place to explore interests and build meaningful friendships through this program was a valuable and rewarding piece for many students.

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“The idea of relationships is very important, it is the people in the places that provide meaning most of the time.”
“Kids have to feel represented by the people, not just the place.”