STEP (Summer STudies Enrichment Program)

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STEP (Grades 6 – 9)
Summer STudies Enrichment Program
DC Campus

STEP offers students entering Grades 6 – 9 the chance to brush up on academic skills, further develop math and writing foundations, and explore new interests.  Participants can design a full-day schedule by combining non-credit academic courses with weekly hands-on electives.  Taught by a team of teachers, this program is crafted to resemble an enriching Middle School morning, with the option to add afternoon camp electives.  These electives will include classes in the realms of science, art, cooking, and more.  The program’s staff includes current and former Sidwell Friends faculty, faculty from area independent schools, and current students and alumnae as counselors.

STEP will take place in the Sidwell Friends Upper School, utilizing classrooms and labs.  The full day will include break time in the school’s café (the Fox Den) and lunch in the dining room.  Lunch may be purchased separately ($5/day), and students may set up summer accounts for the Fox Den.  On Fridays, pizza and Italian ice are provided for lunch at no additional cost.

Sidwell Summer Camp

The morning academic workshops (math options; language arts options) will run for all four weeks of the program.  However, participants will be able to select different afternoon workshops for each of the four weeks, if they so choose.

The program is also open to students coming from abroad.  International students participating in STEP will interact with American students in both classroom and camp settings, with opportunities to improve English skills through academic classes and enriching workshops like Cultural Discovery and Public Speaking.

Location: 3825 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington DC 20016

2018 Dates
July 9 – August 3
Half Day 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Full Day 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Half Day $1,800
Full Day $2500 ($1,800 plus an additional $175/week)
8:30 AM Drop Off
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Workshop 1
10:15 AM – 11:45 AM Workshop 2
11:45 AM – 12:30 PM Lunch or AM Carpool
12:30 PM – 1:45 PM Workshop 3
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM Workshop 4
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Dismissal

Click here to view a complete schedule + workshop offering guide.

ALGEBRA 1 – In Algebra 1 students study operations involving integers, rational numbers, real numbers, monomials, polynomials, rational expressions, exponents, absolute value, and radicals. Techniques for solving and graphing linear and quadratic equations are studied extensively, and linear inequalities and systems of linear equations receive significant attention. There is a strong emphasis on ensuring secure skills and producing clearly organized written work. The class is appropriate both for the student seeking additional review in basic algebra and for the student who, with a teacher’s recommendation, is undertaking summer study to accelerate.

ALGEBRA 2 – In Algebra 2 students study the algebraic properties and graphs of real-valued functions and specific skills needed for working with applications. Previous work with linear relationships and systems is expanded, and, in addition, students study direct and inverse variation, quadratic and higher degree polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, inverses of functions, conic sections, and basic probability and data interpretation. The class is appropriate both for the student seeking additional review in Algebra 2 and for the student who, with a teacher’s recommendation, is undertaking summer study to accelerate.

AMERICAN POLITICS 101 – From background information on the political landscape (i.e. party politics, policy initiatives and shifts, elections) to the exploration and discussion of the current political environment in the United States, lessons will center on topics like healthcare, education, international affairs, and domestic social issues.  Students will be able to evaluate the state of American politics by drawing upon events from the last 10 years.

BAKING – Campers will dive into the world of sweet treats!  If your camper enjoys pies, cakes, custards, cookies, etc, then this is the class for them!  They will get to sample the treats they make and conclude the week with a baking book to take home.

CHEMISTRY – Campers will participate in labs that show why chemistry is such an important and useful science—one that affects everything we do in our daily lives.  The labs will examine changes in matter (solids, liquids, and gases).

COOKING – Campers will learn culinary techniques while recreating some of their favorite dishes, including pasta, poultry, vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, etc.  Campers will get to sample what they make, as well as compile a handmade cookbook to serve as a keepsake from their experience as a chef!

CREATIVE WRITING – Using nothing more than the 26 letters of the alphabet, combined in different ways, you can create a world.  Students will explore genres of creative writing (poetry, short story, longer pieces), read sample pieces, discuss plot structures, experiment stylistically, workshop ideas, and get the creativity flowing!  Develop characters, build narrative, and make a whole new reality on paper. This is a four week class.

CSI – Become a detective for the week!  In the CSI lab, campers will work in teams learning strategies used in ID, NCIS, and CSI.  To solve the crimes with science, campers will look into latent fingerprints, blood samples, hair samples, DNA, footprints, and Luminol.

DEBATE – Learn how to craft and execute an argument, starting with the research and following through to a presentation full of quick thinking, eloquence, and compelling points and counterpoints.  Debate lets kids build a foundation of a case and then give voice to the evidence, thinking on their feet as they engage with each other.

DISSECTION – Campers will get the opportunity to study various organisms and dissect insects and other animals skillfully and strategically.  As they dissect, campers will be able to compare the anatomical structures of different organisms.

DNA – DNA makes you uniquely you.  DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, sometimes called “the molecule of life.”  Campers will investigate genes and observe how DNA looks by performing different lab exercises.

KITCHEN CHEMISTRY – Campers will work with different foods in labs that involve physical and chemical changes.  By using the sun, Bunsen burners, hot plates, and microwaves, we will create a variety of food-based mixtures, compounds, and solutions.

LANGUAGE ARTS – Language Arts will extend students’ practice in reading and writing.  Reading will incorporate both fiction and non-fiction material, and we will focus on comprehension and analysis (both structural and thematic).  Students will work on strong and persuasive writing using building blocks of vocabulary, grammar, parts of speech, and transitions. This is a four week class.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: AN INTRODUCTION – Brief history of Major League Baseball, focusing on key players, key games, memorable moments, mascots, ballparks, scandals, statistics, managers, playoffs, etc.  Go outside and play wiffle ball on Friday, applying our knowledge!

MICROBIOLOGY – Bacteria is the oldest living life form in the world!  Campers will study different groups of bacteria and types of infections, as well as engage in lab work.

PHYSICS – Physics is generally considered a fundamental science.  Campers will participate in labs dealing with matter and energy and “the forces” (including heat, magnetism, light, sound, pressure, and gravity!).

POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS – In groups of 4-6, students will fill specific campaign roles (i.e. Candidate, Campaign Manager, Press Secretary, Field Director, Media Engagement Director, etc) and devise their own strategy for their respective campaign operation. The week will culminate with a debate between candidates.

PRE-ALGEBRA – In Pre-Algebra students will study topics such as rational number operations, percentages, ratios and proportions, equations, and geometry. Students will learn how to decipher word problems with strategies that help them create efficient solutions. Campers selecting this workshop should have some experience with fractions, decimals, and percents.

PUBLIC SPEAKING – We will cover the basics of public speaking (eye contact, posture, volume, tone inflection), as well as the role of confidence.  Students will give 3 presentations over the course of the week, culminating in a Friday presentation on a topic selected by the student and focusing on a passion of theirs.

SCENIC DESIGN – Read scenes from plays and then learn how to design sets—drafting, models, real-life pinterest collections, etc.  Gather inspiration from the playwright to create a world for the play to happen in.  Learn how to draw and make to-scale versions on designs.

SCIENTIFIC METHOD – The Scientific Method gives the campers a chance to explore and solve problems using data.  By identifying and investigating the components of problems, campers will develop their understanding of the Scientific Method.

SUMMER SPA – Campers will use grocery store products to recreate various spa items. They’ll learn the benefits and chemical components behind each key ingredient used to create fragrances, perfumes, candles, body scrubs, lotions, facial masks, etc.  Campers will also have a chance to practice contouring/highlighting techniques, eyeshadow application, and much more!

Drop Off: 8:30 AM

AM Pick Up: 12:00 PM – 12:15 PM

Full Day Pick Up: 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Please review the procedures below and let us know any of questions.  We realize the process can seem overwhelming, but our families become pros after a few days and the flow of traffic works well.

Drop Off

Campers arriving by car should be dropped off in the parking garage on the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and Rodman Street.  Camp staff will help open car doors and direct campers to the proper meeting location. Parking spaces are available in the parking garage if you would like to park and walk your camper to the proper meeting location.  In the event of a rainy day drop off, all campers will meet under the overhang of the building next to the turf field that is located directly above the parking garage.

Late Drop Off

If you arrive late to drop off your camper, please walk your child to the Sidwell Summer Office to check in for the day.  All late arrivals will be escorted to their group by camp staff.  Please make every effort to arrive before 9:00 AM to ensure that your camper will have a full day at camp.

Pick Up

Early Pick Up

Please notify one of the program directors in advance by calling 202-537-8133 or emailing if you plan to pick up your child early from a camp program.  Campers should be picked up directly from the Sidwell Summer Office and a parent or designated adult must check out with the camp staff before leaving campus in order to ensure the safety of all campers. Campers will not be permitted to wait alone or in the front of the school or in other pick up locations.

*Note: For early pick up, please arrive before 2:00 PM. We cannot accommodate early pick ups after 2:00 PM due to carpool and scheduling constraints.* Campers will not be allowed to leave camp on their own without written authorization from parents. Please email to authorize campers to use public transit or walk home.

Pick Up/Carpool Information

Campers are escorted down the car lanes in the parking garage 3:00 PM.  This process can be tricky as we safely move campers through the garage but we would greatly appreciate if you follow the directions exactly stopping at each checkmark.  There is no parking on the upper level of the parking garage between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.  Cars may not back out of spaces on the upper level of the garage beginning at 2:30 PM.  If you would like to park and pick up your camper please park on the lower level of the parking garage.

Cars may begin entering the parking garage at 2:45 PM and line up in rows according to the carpool staff’s directions.  Please do not arrive any earlier as campers will still be enjoying the day’s activities.  Each driver must stay with his/her car and the engine must be turned off.  Please pull up directly behind the car in front of you so that we can fit as many vehicles as possible.  There will be cones in the parking garage to differentiate lanes, please stay to one side of the cones as directed by the carpool staff.  We will have camp staff and campus security in the garage directing traffic to assist you, please follow their directions.  If you are walking home, you should wait at the end of the garage next to the vending machines by the security office.  We will walk your child to meet you and guide you safely out of the garage.

At 3:00 PM, campers from all programs will gather in the carpool area.  Please do not walk up and take your camper early.  A staff member will take your name as you wait in the carpool line and lead your camper/s to his/her car. We ask that you not move your car from its lane once a staff member has given you directions or taken your child’s name as that will cause confusion as to where the camper needs to go.  We will walk your camper safely through the garage to your car.  Even though this process may seem confusing, it works quite well if everyone follows these guidelines. Campers will not be allowed to leave camp on their own without written authorization from parents. Please email to authorize campers to use public transit or walk home. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.  If you are running late, please alert the Sidwell Summer Camp Office as early as possible.  If you arrive after 3:30 PM you will need to pick your child up from the camp office. Please note: Older siblings are brought to younger siblings to allow parents easy pick up at only one location. Please pick up your campers where your youngest child’s pick up is located.

Any camper not registered for Camp ‘til Six and who is not picked up by 3:30 PM is considered a Late Pick-Up. Please see Late Pick-Up Policy below.

Late Pick Up Policy at the End of the Camp Day

After 3:30 PM, campers remaining in the garage are considered late pick-ups.  At 3:30 PM, campers are taken to the camp office until a parent or designated person picks up the camper(s).

Late Pick-Up Fees:  Our staff’s time is valuable to us as is the time of our families. Therefore, late pick-up fees are incurred beginning at 3:30 PM.  Payment is due at the time of pick-up- no exceptions. Payments can be made by cash, check, or credit card in the office.  If a camper is picked up within 15 minutes of the designated pick-up time, there is a charge of $15.00. Campers picked up between 3:45 PM – 4:00 PM from the camp office are charged a late pick-up fee of $50.00. Please note charges are per camper and will apply to each child.

Please note: Campers are not taken to the Camp ‘til Six program. This program is for pre-registered campers only. Campers will be in the summer office for pick-up.  Serious infractions – either based on frequency of late pick-ups or duration of any single pick-up may result in dismissal from camp program.

All mandatory medical information is captured through the online application. However, if your child has medication to be distributed while at camp, you would like the nurse to administer over the counter medications to your child during the camp day, or your child has allergies or asthma, please click here to access the necessary forms.