The Learning Laboratory is a diverse community of learners who engage in and create innovative educational experiences driven by passion and curiosity.

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A Message from Our Founder


Dear Friends,
I am excited to report that The Learning Laboratory has continued to thrive in 2016 with your support. In our second year, we have seen growth in the number of families we serve through our educational programs, and as a result, we have increased our physical space to meet this growing need. The Lab has also established new partnerships with local organizations and companies. These and future collaborations are sure to positively affect our impact for many years to come, so stay tuned!

As a small 501(c)(3) organization (as defined by the IRS), our total income is less than $50,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. A detailed report of our budget/ financials is available upon request. Thank you to our donors, sponsors, volunteers and partners for all you do to make the Lab’s work possible.

Educationally yours,
tina-signature
Tinashe Blanchet, M.Ed.
Founder, Lead Learner
The Learning Laboratory New Orleans

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Thank you for organizing and providing an enriching and meaningful experience for my daughter.

The Learning Laboratory is a non-profit organization committed to offering high-quality non-traditional afterschool, Saturday and summer programs for K-12 students at a reasonable cost for parents. The Learning Lab seeks to inspire and excite students in ways that they may never experience in a traditional school environment with hands-on activities, projects, technology explorations, field trips and travel. The Learning Lab also empowers passionate educators who want to improve their practice and stay abreast of the latest trends in education by offering free professional development for K-12 teachers. In 2016, we expanded our flagship program, Genius Camp, to meet at the request of families who participated in the camp’s first session. We also continued Math Monday, our afterschool math enrichment program. Below you will find a synopsis of these programs.

Genius Camp  |  Math Monday

Genius Camp

Genius Camp kept my son engaged and interested in learning all summer. He came home excited about the day and the next day.

About
Genius Camp is a 6-week day camp with a focus on STEM and literacy/writing for learners in grades 2-10. This summer’s theme was “Under the Sea!” Campers explored the history and mechanics of underwater exploration through designing and building an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV), visiting Louisiana’s wetlands and researching marine biology In addition to themed content, Genius Campers participated in a variety of activities including weekly swimming, daily physical activity at Audubon Park, weekly visits to the Children’s Resource Center Library, and weekly field trips that related to our underwater theme. The camp culminated with a trip to Pensacola, FL to visit the to visit the Pensacola MESS (Math, Engineering, Science and Stuff) Hall and Pensacola Beach. Additionally, campers were able to share projects that they worked on throughout the program at a “Genius Fair” event at the end of camp.

Quick Facts

  • Genius Camp ran from June 13- July 22, 2016, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The total cost to parents was $500: $450+ $50 registration fee. This covered everything, including the trip to Pensacola.
  • 26 students participated:
    • 4-15 years old
    • 23/26 (88%) minority students
    • 8/26 students returned from last year (31%)
  • 6 volunteers:
    • 3 college graduates, 1 college student, 2 HS students
  • 93% of parents plan to enroll their children in Genius Camp next summer.


Results
The goal of Genius Camp 2016 was to inspire and excite students in ways that they may never experience in a traditional school environment with hands-on activities, projects, technology explorations, field trips and travel. Additionally, we responded to feedback from last year by expanding the program from four to six weeks and implementing changes to more specifically address the needs of campers and their families.

This year, Genius Camp Parents expressed an extraordinarily high level of satisfaction with all aspects of the program. 100% of the respondents to the post-program survey strongly agreed with the following statements:

  • Genius Camp was enriching and enjoyable for my child(ren).
  • Genius Campers were treated with care and respect.
  • Genius Camp field trips were well-planned, educational and fun.

Additionally, 100% of the respondents agreed that their children gained new skills and knowledge from Genius Camp and indicated that they would recommend Genius Camp to their friends and family. With this increased positive feedback, we look forward to a successful third year for Genius Camp in 2017.

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Math Monday

[My son’s] confidence is improving and his ability to approach his homework is much better. Grades are improving. Thank you for your support!

Math Monday is an afterschool math program with a focus on problem-solving, study skills, and math enrichment for learners in grades 3-7. Every Monday, participants receive individual homework help from Tulane undergraduate students from 4 to 5 p.m.

From 5 to 6 p.m., certified math teachers, including guest teacher, Paula Naugle, lead math enrichment lessons geared towards student needs as observed in a preliminary assessment, and weekly homework help. Math enrichment lessons are taught with a nontraditional approach, with a focus on hands-on, problem/project based learning and technology use. This is an ongoing program that resumes on February 6, 2017.

Quick Facts

  • Math Monday ran from February 16 to April 4 and September 19 to to December 19, 2016, 5-6 p.m. with Homework Help Hour from 4-5 p.m.
  • 12 students participated:
    • 7-15 years old
    • 10/12 (92%) minority students
  • 20 volunteers:
    • 5 guest teachers, 15 college students

In the News
In September 2016, Math Monday was the subject of a New Orleans Advocate feature story. See below for an excerpt:

Tinashe Blanchet’s job is to make learning math fun. If you just groaned or rolled your eyes at that statement, you helped prove her point.

“Kids struggle with their attitude toward math,” said Blanchet, a former classroom teacher. “Parents say, ‘I’m not a math person’ or ‘Common Core, I don’t understand it.’ Overt and subliminal, it has to be addressed. We’re teaching a new attitude about math.”

Math phobia also can spring from experience at a surprisingly early age.”

“It’s the opposite (of fear) in young children, but after going through 12 years of education, at some point, it goes from being a fun thing to something to be afraid of. That happens at about the fourth grade, with testing. That’s what we try to undo here at the lab. Learning hands-on is fun and exciting,” Blanchet said. Read more

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Featured Partners

The Lab works in partnership with several organizations towards our mission and vision. We have also had several generous donations from companies and foundations. THANK YOU to all of our partners, volunteers and donors for your commitment to the continued success of the Lab!

AXI Educational Solutions
Special thanks to Marcus Stein
Thank you to our friends at AXI Education Solutions for donating an amazing 102-inch Promethean ActivWall to the Lab. Stay tuned for the next phase of this exciting partnership in early 2017!

Tulane Teacher Preparation & Certification Program
Special thanks to Jerome White and Dr. Shannon Blady
Aspiring educators from Tulane University visited the Lab this fall for a presentation about teaching and learning mathematics. This is one of many activities the Lab has hosted in partnership with Tulane University.

Math Science Institute
Special thanks to Dr. Andrew Talmadge

The Learning Lab hosted the first mini Math Science Institute in November 2016. Math and science teachers from around the New Orleans area gathered to learn about technology, maker spaces, hands-on activities and much more.

Board of Directors

Tara Adams
Shelia Banks
Tinashe Blanchet
Kori Williams
J’Nai Williams

Donors

Heather Dowd
Monica Pierre
Linda Stewart
Tanjanesia Willoughby

Volunteers

Jade Blanchet
Joshua Gibson
Denise Graves
Jason Hall
Marcus Stein
Karrington Taylor

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The Learning Laboratory New Orleans, Inc.
7100 St. Charles Avenue
Suite #203
New Orleans, LA 70118
P 504 475 4LAB (4522) E tblanchet@learnlabnola.org

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