Reaching new milestones with The Well STEAM and Literacy Center

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The Well has been dedicated to helping the students of Pampa and surrounding areas with their education since February 2016. Paul Rayburn, the creator of The Well and former Pampa Junior High math teacher, fosters an environment that helps families with their child’s educational needs and works to inspire a love of learning. Rayburn is from Ovilla, TX, and met his wife, Mary Grace, at T Bar M Camp near Austin, TX. As a teacher, Rayburn saw an area of assistance that students could benefit from.

“I saw a need for support,” Rayburn said. “Our teachers and administrators are facing so many challenges. They just seem insurmountable.” This gave Rayburn an idea: create an environment in which parents and teachers can receive support and enrichment for their students in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I thought it could be a real boon our classroom,” Rayburn said.

The Well’s purpose is to support students’ aspirations ranging from science, mathematics, and computers to literature and the arts.

“As a teacher, I saw that there was an extra need for help in math,” Rayburn said. “And I saw that there were some advancements that could be made regarding STEM.”

The Well offers classes year-round that focus on exciting subjects for students like computer programing, robotics, and school literature discussion. The STEAM and Literacy Center’s programs cater to students from Preschool to High school grade levels. This past summer in particular was an overwhelming success in terms of classes offered and student turnout.

“We offered 45 different STEAM programs for kids,” Rayburn said. “For 3rd and 4th graders, we offered chemistry, robotics and rocket science camps. For 5th and 6th grade, we offered pneumatic systems, 3-D printing and JavaScript camps. For our oldest students, we had LEGO-based battle bots, advanced robotics and drones camps. It was all sorts of fun.”

 In addition to the STEM classes, The Well has added literary support and art classes.

“We have book clubs. It offers students a chance to do summer reading and have fun discussions about the books. We had art programs for students in 3rd grade and up, even for adults,” Rayburn said. “I saw summer as an opportunity for kids to extend learning. We saw this as a chance to bless kids in our community and keep them engaged during the summer months.”

Rayburn also mentions a wonderful outcome of the help offered at The Well: the effect it has on homeschooling families.

“We’re supporting our homeschooling families not just in Pampa, but in the surrounding areas like Miami, Lefors, and White Deer,” Rayburn said. “It’s helpful for them to give their kids opportunities to be around other kids. Some parents also use our classes to help in areas that they, as educators, need additional assistance in.”

 Rayburn goes on to mention the flexibility homeschooling parents have when they send their children to The Well.

“Parents come and drop off their kids for an hour or more. They will be getting, for example, English Language Arts (ELA) with us and then go home and do the rest of their school work with Mom and Dad,” Rayburn said. “People can pick and choose what suits them best.”

The growing interest in STEM-related topics is one to behold, however, Rayburn wanted The Well to encompass the arts as a way to cater to the variety of interests students have. He is always on the lookout for passionate educators in different specialties to include in The Well.

“When the right person with the right capability comes along and is good at what they do, we try our best to keep them and build our capacity around them,” Rayburn said.

Shaun Taylor is one of the instructors that Rayburn hired who specializes in art.

“He is a talented and college-educated artist,“ Rayburn said. “Initially, he was tutoring children in art. He loved it and works very well with kids. Now, he does all the art classes for us. It became a staple for us.”

Rayburn has fostered a magnificent community of educational support for students, parents, and educators. The Well STEAM and Literacy Center goes beyond offering assistance, it harbors a passion for learning.

“From day one, we operated around responding to needs,” Rayburn said. “We are here to support whatever situation you’re in.”

 If you are interested in signing up at The Well STEAM and Literacy Center for classes, go to www.thewellpampa. org or give them a call at (806) 486-1971.

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