Good Words From our Parents

  • My name is Maria Porretta and, as a parent to a young active mind, I strive to continuously make my child challenge himself. Vista Teach has repeatedly proven to me their program is after the same goal. My son has attended the program a number of times and anticipates going every year. Not only does he apply himself to learning while in class, what he learns carries over to everyday situations, he excels in school and, has a great attitude towards accepting challenges, asking for help, and working well with others. The staff is amazing and shows they are always reinventing the sessions to keep up with the modern technologies. This program is a gift on so many levels!

    - Maria PorrettaParent
  • My son was is first grade when we signed him up for Wedo Robotics. I was so happy to find the STEM camps because it was at a time when my son was getting bored with trucks, trains and regular LEGOs. It was becoming a challenge to keep him interested in his toys. He attended camp for one week and it has become a passion for him. In the years since first grade, my son has participated in Wedo Robotics, NXT and NXT Advanced. They have all exceeded my expectations. My son began to recognize how robotics is used in the world around him. He would verbalize how something worked and how he could improve it. The STEM classes have made my son more imaginative and have also expanded his thinking in science and math classes in school. I am very grateful the STEM classes have been so exciting, educational and fun for my son year after year.

    - Kerri CravenParent
  • My son loves the summer STEM programs! He has learned scientific and engineering principles while having a great time designing, building and programming robots. The instructors make science fun. They are knowledgeable, friendly and supportive of the kids.

    - Regina ButtnerParent
  • Last year was the first year I enrolled my second grader into the STEM Wedo Robotics course. My son loves to play with LEGOs so I thought this would be something fun for him during the summer. Much to my surprise, he came home every day excited to talk about what he did, the kids he met and the teachers. His self-confidence increased as well as in interest in reading and math. He began to draw what he was designing and tried to make it with the LEGOs at home. This program really ignited his interest in math and literacy. I love the fact that it is cross curricular and it opens their imagination. My son has already asked to be enrolled this summer as well as my younger son.

    - Paola BilloneParent
  • I absolutely love the Vista Teach robotics camps and philosophies. This was just what we needed for my son when he began attending the camps in first grade -a caring, fun place to learn and excel in STEM. We also like that the camps are a half-day experience because that has fit well with our summer schedule. My son has learned so much and has loved every minute of it! He has learned more than building and programming robots because these camps also incorporate creativity, problem solving, teamwork, and other skills needed for success. He is now in fourth grade and because of the skills and work ethic he demonstrated during camps in previous years, he was invited to try a more advanced camp if he wanted to try it.   I love how Sue and her team get to know kids and keep track of their accomplishments so that they can personalize learning experiences from year to year that encourage each child to blossom. Sue always goes the extra mile to make sure kids have great experiences learning STEM at her camps. Plus, she is very well-organized, and has wonderful outreach and communication with parents. My son is very eager to attend more Vista Teach camps, and my daughter is excited to begin attending them. I am thankful to have such an outstanding STEM program for my children to enjoy!   Thank you to Sue and her team!

    - Necia Marchetti, Ed.D.Parent & Educator
  • My daughter has blossomed under a variety of the STEM programs at Vista Teach. She has participated in everything from Beginner to Advanced NXT Robotics that have helped her become a leader on her school FLL team. I’ve watched her develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while tackling missions, underwater, thru the WaterBotics Program. I’ve watched the development of team building skills, patience, and humor while relating to her peers and the amazing staff. Mostly, I’ve seen a sincere interest in furthering her skills and applying them to real life scenarios and future college endeavors. She is understanding the real life application that these skills have and the impact they have on the world--something that is beyond her 13 years!

    - Katherine MarcusParent
  • This will be my son's 4th year at a Vista Teach summer camp. Sue Sorrentino and the Vista Teach Team are outstanding - from the registration process...to the quality of program material...to the personal relationship with each student...and mostly the excitement they bring to education. Sue's passion and zeal are contagious! She makes learning very fun!

    - Gayle RehParent
  • The LEGO WeDo Robotics summer course offered by Vista Teach at Allendale Columbia School is more than a summer camp. It is an educational experience that will far exceed your expectations!   From the moment you walk in, the standards are high. Students are put into a real-world environment and students live up to these standards as they design and create robotic models using state of the art equipment! These "future engineers in training" (as they are referred to) are not using red LEGOS and Blue LEGOS, but red 2x6 and blue 3x3 bricks to construct their robots. The importance of using correct terminology is really encouraged.   For my son, his learning did not end when the course concluded. Suddenly he began noticing gears, pistons, motors, and other engineering situations out in the world. Making these connections proved he had truly learned something that stayed with him.   This unique learning approach could not have been possible without the dedicated teaching staff and the leadership of Mrs. Sorrentino, whose passion and excitement for this program is clearly evident. I am thankful my son had this exposure and his eyes have been opened to this at his early age. Not only is he looking forward to the Intermediate LEGO We Do program, I am excited for what his future holds.

    - Jennifer CaineParent
  • Never being exposed to LEGO Robotics, I didn't know what to expect. It turned out we had a wonderful experience in the Vista Teach programs at Allendale Columbia School. Not only was the LEGO WeDo Robotics a wonderful program, the staff was exceptional. They made a huge impact on me as soon as the first day. They were welcoming and clearly took an interest in knowing all the children. It's obvious these educators are passionate about what they do and made every effort to pass their enthusiasm on to the children while keeping them engaged throughout the program.

    - Debbie CompostoParent
  • My 10-year-old granddaughter had a wonderful 2 weeks attending the Vista Teach Robotics Camps using the LEGO Mindstorms NXT System. She learned a tremendous amount during camp sessions and had fun as she learned. The format of the camps let her discover, at her own pace, while allowing her to experience incremental accomplishments as she learned. This was the first camp my granddaughter has attended where she looked forward to participating each day. Each evening after camp she talked enthusiastically about what she learned at camp that day, and she looked forward to each new challenge at the next session. She didn't know that she was learning principles of engineering; all she knew was that she was having fun.   At the end of the camp she proudly demonstrated her robot and all it could accomplish. The camp provided my granddaughter with a wonderful experience and has given her added confidence in her capabilities. As someone who has been involved with the FIRST Robotics program, for over 20 years, I feel the Vista Teach Robotics Camps provide the participants with a great foundation for participation in FIRST programs. I highly recommend this wonderful program.

    - Elaine AnselmGrandparent
  • I was amazed at the high level of concentrated instruction and results. Other camps we’d done seemed to have a high ratio of “fluff” to actual learning, but Sue’s program is focused on teaching the kids exactly what they need to know in order to be confident builders and programmers. My son was able to express his creativity and increase his skill level at the same time. He thrived in this atmosphere and can’t wait to return next summer!

    - Sophia KimParent
  • Our child attended two Vista Teach sessions last summer, Introduction to WeDo Robotics and Intermediate LEGO WeDo Robotics. We found the whole experience wonderful! Vista Teach provided a safe, exciting educational experience for our son. He was so enthusiastic after each session that he would come home and apply his new knowledge on his own Mindstorm Set. We felt like he learned a lot. We were extremely impressed with the professionalism of all of the people involved.   We found the Vista Teach sessions to be high quality, hands on educational experiences that far exceeded our expectations of a summer camp. The sessions have been thoughtfully designed to encourage higher level thinking skills. Once the students have had small group and individualized instruction by the Vista Teach Professional Team, the students then possess the skills needed to plan, test, and present their projects.   We highly recommend Vista Teach! We are counting down the days until he attends his next robotics class!

    - Elizabeth and Ryan ShooshanParents
  • I love everything about the Vista Teach summer camps! They are organized and well run. The parent information is timely and well communicated. There is a wide variety of camps so a child can always have something new to look forward to the next summer. The end of camp Open House and Certificate Presentation builds kids' confidence and pride in a relaxed atmosphere. Kids can work both independently and collaboratively during the camps. The topics are current and fun. And maybe the most special gem of the camps is the older boys and girls who come back year after year to mentor and volunteer. Many of these helpers are FIRST LEGO League or Robotics team members (or past members). They are knowledgeable, polite, and are great role models to the younger campers. Thank you, Mrs. Sorrentino, for your continued dedication to bringing this wonderful S.T.E.M. education to our kids!

    - Elaine MonroeParent

Good Words from Our Education Professionals

  • The LEGO NXT Robotics training was so much fun!  I loved the format for training, where teachers took on the role of students.  The facilitators, Sue and Donna, posed higher level thinking questions which could be used in the classroom.  They taught the robotics and engineering content at the same time as having classroom routines modeled.  There was a perfect balance between instruction time and hands-on learning.  Working in partners, we learned proper engineering/robotics vocabulary.  We also constructed, programmed, and tested our robots.  There were multiple opportunities for problem solving and teamwork.  I highly recommend this training!

    Karen ShuskeyGifted/Talented Teacher, John Kennedy Intermediate
  • As an elementary school principal, I was privileged to attend the Vista Teach LEGO WeDo Robotics and, NXT Robotics, Teacher Training Sessions. The training was absolutely excellent and supported teachers with how to teach engineering concepts to children. During the week long training I watched teachers grow more and more confident with their understanding of engineering principles and with how to organize and manage materials in the classroom. The STEM teachers, from Vista Teach, consistently modeled every aspect of how to engage the children and how to support their understanding of robotics. I went from being curious about how this could be done to being a believer in what an amazing STEM learning experience this could be for both teachers and children.

    Mary Ann Krog(retired) Elementary School Principal, Webster South Klem06
  • SUE, DONNA, AND NATE ARE WIZARDS!!!  I attended a Vista Teach Teacher Training Workshop in order to teach 7th-12th graders how to use the LEGO EV3 Robotics System and software for an academic summer program. My background is in the humanities and social sciences so I was less than thrilled upon hearing that I would be spending two days learning computer programming and technical things. But, right from the start, Sue and Donna eased my anxiety by breaking down the information into simple and understandable steps. They are incredibly clear and concise in their teaching, and complete masters of this technology. They understand how intimidating engineering and computer programing can be to a general audience. By the end of the second day, I was so inspired that I purchased an ev3 kit for my son's 11th birthday. When I received it and read the LEGO EV3 instructions, I discovered they were different than the way Vista Teach taught me in the workshop. I realized Donna, Sue, and Nate's guidance was invaluable. Without them, my son's EV3 Robotics kit would have quickly found its way to a shelf. As a teacher and academic counselor, I have the utmost respect for Vista Teach's instructional method, as well.  Their curriculum is so easy to follow. It's like saying "I'm going to the pool to wade" and then looking up and realizing you're in the deep end, swimming. I highly recommend their training to anyone who is even remotely interested in learning robotics. I went from not having an interest or motivation in learning, to spending evenings with my son working on our robot. Thank you so much Vista Teach!!!

    Stephanie Kula NYS Certified Teacher, College Academic Counselor, ParentScience & Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), University at Buffalo
  • I have to admit that I was nervous about opening up my LEGO WeDo Robotics kits with my students.  I had never done any computer programming in the past and was intimidated just by the idea of it.  Then I went to the Vista Teach training!  The friendly, professional format of the training prepared me to immediately begin implementing the curriculum in my classroom.  In addition to learning the basics, the training provided additional curricular ideas that are not present in the robotics Teacher’s Manual.  During the training, teachers took on the role of students, which allowed us to see what questions/problems students may encounter during the initial stages of working with the WeDo kits. Thank you for your wonderful training – my students are still reaping the benefits!

    Karen ShuskeyGifted/Talented Teacher, John Kennedy Intermediate
  • Watching the elementary school children in STEM class, at Allendale Columbia School, demonstrates education at its very best:  students are engaged and energized in an environment where inquiry, problem-solving and critical thinking are integral components of the class. STEM class is a virtual bee hive of activity as the students quickly gain the facility with essential elements of design.  These young students have opportunities to see that persistence, accuracy, and precision have value.  Once given a structure, the creative designs are astonishing, preparing these students to think flexibly and acquire skills essential in our technological world. The excitement this generates, and the willingness students show with helping each other master a problem is most impressive.  It erases the ever present gender issues for technology as young girls shine in this stimulating environment.

    Catharine Lindsay HawksEducation Field Supervisor, State University of New York at Geneseo
  • The Vista Teach team is an amazing group of educators who know both engineering principles and learning strategies for children, inside and out. As an elementary school principal, it has been my privilege to observe their classes, first hand, over the past several years. What impresses me about this group is their ability to instill the habits of mind of engineers and, their ability to engage young students to explore and master challenging real world engineering concepts. They are brilliant with both learning theory and materials management and are able to nurture mindsets of resilience, creative problem-solving, invention and collaboration.

    Mary Ann Krog(retired) Elementary School Principal, Webster South Klem
  • The S.T.E.M. program at Allendale Columbia School highlights the best of 21st century learning: collaboration, authentic problem-solving, and hands-on experiences. Sue Sorrentino and her team have truly raised the bar in terms of how Allendale Columbia delivers an education that is relevant,  dynamic, and preparing our students for their future.

    John SullivanLower School Principal, Allendale Columbia School

Good Words From our Students

  • I had a very good time working with my close friend in LEGO WeDo Robotics. I especially had fun programing my alligator to chomp!

    - AnthonyGrade 4
  • I loved going to the WeDo Robotics Camp. At first I thought it was just going to be playing with LEGOs but I ended up making an alligator walk and chomp using the computer. I couldn’t believe that I had made something out of LEGOs that came alive. I met a lot of new friends and the teachers were really nice. I can’t wait for the summer so I can see what I am going to make come alive. I love WeDo Robotics.

    - JosephGrade 3
  • When I did Lego Robotics camp for the first time, (WeDo Intro) I was in 2nd grade. Now, I liked LEGOs a lot, but when I saw LEGO Robotics, I thought about what I could really make with the moving parts. I tried it on the third day and I was shocked. Instead of programming, it was also remote control! Now, I didn't like LEGOs, I loved LEGOs! In Wedo Intermediate, I got my own set to work with. I saw a picture and no directions. I decided to try and build the catapult that shot a LEGO by using a sensor, then would reload itself. I did NXT Robotics last summer, it was definitely exciting and challenging. It all happened because of Vista Teach.

    - BradleyGrade 4
  • I am 11 years old and my most recent experience in the Vista Teach robotics programs was in their WaterBotics Camp, it gave us a new and amazing experience. I think the robotics programs are good for many reasons. One is that in the lower levels it gives kids a chance to test their abilities with higher level technology. And in the higher levels it taps creativity and thinking because you don't have instructions for everything so you must come up with your own amazing inventions. Overall the robotics program is a great chance for kids of all ages to play around with hands-on learning. I personally love LEGO Robotics and all the trial and error that comes with it. In third grade they introduced me to LEGO Robotics. In fourth grade we learned how to program and complete obstacle courses. In fifth grade a few of us started WaterBotics which gave us a new obstacle to try to tackle. Also, real world scientists actually use LEGO robots to help them with repeated tasks such as dipping a string into different liquids. It's cool to relate and understand their design.

    - GeraldGrade 6
  • I have taken a few Vista Teach camps including LEGO WeDo Robotics (intro and intermediate) and LEGO Mindstorms NXT (intro and intermediate). I like the camps because the instructors show you how to start. They provide a PowerPoint of many projects or missions that can be built with the parts you have. I like that I can build and program myself. Having many choices means that you can work at your own pace and there is always something new to build during camps. I am in 5th grade and can't wait to try some of the camps for older kids like Scratch Animation, LEGO EV3, and WaterBotics in the future

    - BlakeGrade 5
  • Last year I was 7 years old and about to go into 3rd grade when I took my first WeDo Robotics Class. I loved it! It was super fun! What I liked most was that it was simple drag and drop programming. I got to build an alligator type robot and an annoying drumming monkey that you could change the drum patterns by repositioning the cam wheels. I liked it so much that I wish I could do it every day. I couldn't be happier about the WeDo Robotics classes.

    - TrevorGrade 3
  • The STEM programs at Vista Teach are the best. I’ve taken beginner-advanced NXT Robotics for the last few years. I loved going on missions and trying to complete as many as I could. My favorite course though was WaterBotics. We learned about buoyancy and gears all while driving our robot underwater. The counselors were really supportive and I liked to see how other people designed gears and levers to accomplish their missions too. They were all different. My experience with the STEM programs have been great--I wish everyone could have the opportunity.

    - GraceGrade 7
  • I participated in the Intermediate/Advanced NXT Robotics and the WaterBotics courses as an eighth grader. Both courses were very fun and I learned a lot. This summer I'm going to be an invited Intern and help out with the camps. I'm excited because I'll get to work with robotics all summer. The teachers are very smart and they helped me learn to program my robots.

    - BrendanGrade 8
  • At the Introduction to LEGO WeDo Robotics camp last summer, I had a great time from the very start. Mrs. Sorrentino demonstrated examples on the SmartBoard. We would then construct our own models using the computers, motors, sensors, and our kits to make our models work. It was awesome to see our creations come to life!   I learned about gears, pulleys, ramps, wheels, wedges and axels while having fun with LEGOS at the same time! When we got to our unit on simple machines this year in fourth grade, I already knew all about them because of what I learned in the Vista Teach programs at Allendale Columbia School!   It was fun to meet new people, work with a partner I never met before, and share my knowledge with my family on the last day of camp. My family loved coming in to see all the things we worked on. Mrs. Sorrentino is a very nice teacher and I am looking forward to the Intermediate LEGO WeDo class this summer! I am sure it will be another fun, educational time!

    - ThomasGrade 4
  • I liked the LEGO robotics camps at Vista Teach because I like putting together robots. The camps enabled me to learn and have fun at the same time. I think in the future I will be able to make more robots and may even try for FIRST LEGO League. This is why I love the robotics camps!

    - CeannaGrade 5
  • The learning here is extra fun because it's with LEGOs not textbooks. I love these robotics camps and have done them since first grade. I did the WeDo Intro and the WeDo Intermediate Robotics Camps where I learned the beginning of computer programming. I love playing with LEGOs and think computers and robots are cool, so those camps were great because I was actually making simple robots. I also did the NXT Intro Camp where I learned more about computer programming and programmed an autonomous robot. This was really neat because I programmed the robot to do missions by itself. When I joined a robotics team at my school I knew what to expect because of these camps. This year I will take the EV3 Robotics to learn more about robotics and the Scratch Animation Camp to learn more about programming video games. I like that the directors remember you and give you the right challenges. These camps are awesome!! ~

    - EricGrade 4
  • I did the WeDo Robotics Camp in 2nd grade. I really liked Mrs. Sorrentino’s class because I got to create lots of things. The teaching was very clear and I could understand easily. It’s really fun! It’s the best robotics camp I’ve ever been to! I think that any kid who likes things that move or LEGOs would love this camp!

    - MicahGrade 2

Winning Scholarship Essay

The Gates Chili Teachers Association offered a full scholarship for a Vista Teach Robotics Camp Session for the winner of an essay writing contest open to all Elementary/Middle School Students in the District. The excellent winning essay was written by a 5th grader who is super excited to be joining us this summer! Thank you to the GCTA!