Sawyer partners with hundreds of educators who are stars in their communities. From inspiring class content to engaging teaching style, these educators are known for their enriching activities that empower both children and parents alike.
We got the opportunity to chat with Boolean Girl, a DC-based nonprofit with a mission to improve diversity in STEM by teaching girls in grades 3-8 how to code, build, invent, and animate in online and in-person classes.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business.
Boolean Girl is a passion project, a nonprofit with a mission to improve diversity in STEM. We do this by teaching girls in grades 3-8 how to code, build, invent, and animate.
Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?
I’m inspired by the girls that keep coming back to our events to do more. I especially love it when a girl outgrows the program but returns to teach others as a counselor in one of our camps.
What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?
Seeing the lightbulb come on as they build something of their own design. We are big believers in creative learning so our camps and classes inspire girls to come up with ideas that are meaningful to them and bring them to life. When they get their creation working, it is not unusual to hear them yell out. That scream of success is so rewarding!
What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?
This summer, one of our high school-aged instructors, who had been coming to our camps since 4th grade, asked if we would help her set up an event at a local elementary school. The school has a high number of students for whom English is a second language. She wanted to run an event in Spanish for kids who “look like her.” I was thrilled to help her. Not only are we doing the event but we are giving the students micro:bit kits as part of our micro:bit for all program where we donate kits to schools. What an uplifting moment!
On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class?
Other than breaking into handstands or acting out the cats they coded in their Scratch program, the most memorable thing that made me smile in class was when a student coded a long intricate adventure story that the other students loved so much, they asked her to play it again. Praise from a teacher is great, but positive feedback from your peers is priceless!
Why is after school and extracurricular enrichment so important for children?
We believe that enrichment opportunities beyond the regular school day add an important dimension to learning, whether through introducing children to activities and ideas not available in school or by demonstrating that learning is not just something you do at school.
How do you think children can discover their passions when they’re not in school or your programs?
One of our goals is to get kids coding on their own. Nothing makes me happier than to hear “she has been working on projects at home” from a parent. We do several things to encourage this. All the tools we use in class are available for free so it is easy to go home and keep coding. After every event, everyone gets to take their projects home to show their parents and to keep building. And, we have free online, self-paced courses and projects to inspire kids to keep creating.
What is your favorite Sawyer feature?
How easy it is to get a report, specifically the rosters.
What's one trick you learned from another educator that you still practice?
It is ok if you don’t know the answer to a question. You can use it as an opportunity to discover the answer as a class by experimenting.
Have you discovered new customers on the Sawyer marketplace?
Yes, we get some customers from the marketplace.
How do you balance your time between running your business (from an operational perspective) and teaching/connecting with parents and students?
These days I do less teaching myself, but always take time to attend camps and classes in order to observe and interact with the students, instructors, and parents. Being able to step back and observe a class gives me the opportunity to see what really sparks a child’s interest. I can then go back and incorporate what I have observed into our future programs.
How has Sawyer helped your business?
It is easy to use for us and, even more importantly, easy for our customers to navigate. I rarely get a complaint from customers about the registration process and that makes a big difference. The more people we can get registered, the more students we can impact!