P.O. Box 3913 • Urbandale, IA • 50323 explore@cultureall.org 515-273-8569

DMPS Middle School Summer School

MIddle School Summer School - African Dance

School may be out, but that doesn’t mean that CultureALL’s education programs stop happening in the summer.  For the past three years, we have been part of a Middle School Summer School program for the Des Moines Public Schools District.  The program is funded by a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant – a federal grant program administered by the Iowa Department of Education.   Each summer it serves over 400 students in grades 5-8 at middle schools throughout the Des Moines school district.  A large percentage of this students come from low-income families who might not have an opportunity for other summer learning experiences.

This summer, forty CultureALL Ambassadors representing more than twenty different cultures, presented workshops at eight Des Moines middle schools – one hour a day, five days a week, for five weeks.  Students at Callanan, Goodrell, Harding, Hiatt, Hoyt, McCombs, Meredith, and Weeks MIddle Schools were able to participate in a variety of workshops throughout the summer.

The students played  instruments.

Middle School Summer School Music
Music of Mexico workshop

They learned some dances.

MIddle School Summer School Dance
Polynesian Dance Workshop with Ambassador Tavita Taueetia

They created artwork.

MIddle School Summer School art
Art Workshop – Indian Diwali lamp

They tried on traditional clothing…

Middle School Summer School India
India Workshop with Ambassador Sonal Mistry

… and learned to cook traditional dishes.

Middle School Summer School Cooking
Mexican Cooking with Ambassador R.J. Hernandez

They got henna tattoos.

Middle School Summer School Mehandi
Showing off Mehandi (henna tattoos)

They learned to write their names in other languages…

MIddle School Summer School Language
Russian Language Workshop with Ambassador Alexander Yarushkin


and learned about the stories, history, and customs of many other cultures, including Africa, India, Mexico, Ireland, Russia, China, Japan, Nepal, The Netherlands, Germany, Nepal. Peru, Ukraine, and more!

At the end of the program, students from all of the schools came together for a Culture Day at Hiatt MIddle School for additional workshops and a final assembly celebration:

Middle School Summer School Assembly
African Dance Assembly Performance with Ambassadors Sokpo Doba and Fonziba Koster

It was a wonderful summer, and CultureALL would like to thank our Ambassadors, Des Moines Schools staff and Americorps volunteers, Boys and Girls Club staff at McCombs at Hiatt, and everyone else who helped with this year’s middle school summer school program.

We can’t wait for next summer!

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