STARBASE Victory students learn how to build computers with help from Cox

It was just another day at camp for 23 From One Hand To AnOTHER students attending STARBASE Victory in Portsmouth…or so they thought. To their surprise, last Wednesday the students were greeted by volunteers and staff from Cox and EveryoneOn for a special activity. What they learned next shot a wave of cheers across the room.

Thanks to a partnership between Cox and EveryoneOn, the students spent the morning building their own computer. Using the Computer Kit Touch by Kano, students worked in pairs to build and code tablets and then used them to play educational games, make art and create music.

In a post-event survey, when asked what they liked about working on the Kano Computer Kits, a majority of the students said that building (or making) the computer was their favorite part of the program. Others just “liked everything.”

Mr. Shannon Glover, Portsmouth City Councilman and STARBASE Board Member, had this to say about his experience with the students, “It amazed me to watch the STARBASE campers construct computers and develop applications and games.” He continued, “As a business owner and city councilman, I’m proud of the experiences our children are able to participate in that challenge their abilities and create dreams for their future.”

The event is a result of Cox’s ongoing support of youth education with a spotlight on STEM, literacy, and mentorship and its intentional focus on digital equity. Through partnerships with organizations like EveryoneOn and programs like Connect2Compete, Cox and the nonprofit community are working together to bridge the digital divide and create social and economic opportunity through technology.

“I can’t thank the teachers, administrators and partners – both corporate and nonprofit – enough for all they do to make a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children,” said Glover.


About From One Hand To AnOTHER

From One Hand To ANOTHER (FOHTA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by internationally renowned musical artist and producer Pharrell Williams in 2008 because he believed that every child could be a success if only they had the right tools. FOHTA currently delivers S.T.E.A.M.M.-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Motivation) summer camps for over 1,300 kids at 22 locations in 2 states, and will continue to increase our impact each year.



Since 2002, STARBASE Victory has been providing exciting, innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs to elementary school students in Portsmouth. The 501(C)3 nonprofit is a unique partnership with Portsmouth Public Schools and the community.  During the school year, the program serves all fourth, fifth and sixth graders in the city (over 3000 students).  For those who are inspired by their STARBASE experience, the program offers nine free, voluntary
STEM summer camps. With over 17,000 graduates since its inception, STARBASE is a proven model for early STEM education.
In an effort to reach other school systems and businesses interested in improving STEM skills in the workforce, STARBASE will
host the region’s first STEM Education Awards Dinner: Launching Futures, Shining a Light on STEM Education.  The dinner
will be held March 11, 2020 at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel. For more information about the event and STARBASE
STEM education programs, please visit


About EveryoneOn

EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting people to the Internet. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has connected more than 700,000 people in the United States. For more information, visit


About Cox
Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through broadband applications and services. The largest private telecom company in America, we proudly serve six million homes and businesses across 18 states. We’re dedicated to empowering others to build a better future and celebrate diverse products, people, suppliers, communities and the characteristics that makes each one unique. Cox Communications is the largest division of Cox Enterprises, a family-owned business founded in 1898 by Governor James M. Cox.

Follow us on Twitter at @CoxVA.

MEDIA INFO:  Susan Long-Molnar,


News and Upcoming Events!

Check out our newest Newsletter for highlights on one of our partners, USAA, a wrap up from our Partner Appreciation Recognition Breakfast, and important upcoming events!


We are excited to have our 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students back in the classrooms each week at STARBASE!

Be sure to check out our Supporters page for news about our partners and the activities they are supporting at STARBASE. We have lots of opportunities for our community of businesses, foundations and individuals to fund all of the curriculum, student materials, graduation certificates and t-shirts which make STARBASE unique! Do you know a student who graduated from STARBASE programs? If you do, you may be surprised to know that they keep their t-shirts for years because they are so proud of their memories and all that they learned at STARBASE. The “uniform” (the t-shirt) promotes the teamwork concept, an important aspect of collaboration which students develop in their STEM activities.

Are you attending the Portsmouth Schools Foundation’s State of the Schools? The event is Tuesday, October 30th, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. Many of our STARBASE Board members are attending so we are anticipating that we will have a STARBASE table. Please come meet our board members! For more information or to register, email

Hour of Code is at STARBASE Again!

Hour of Code 2017 takes place nationally this week during Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10, 2017, and STARBASE will be participating for the 3rd year. The Hour of Code is a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes, and leaving them feeling empowered and once, again, we are participating in Portsmouth!

The Hour of Code began as a one-hour coding challenge to give students a fun, first introduction to computer science and has become a global learning event, celebration, and awareness event. offers hundreds of one-hour activities in over 48 languages for kindergarten and up. Activities require no experience and can be run on PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones – some don’t require any computer at all.

The global economy is competitive. Our workforce must be literate in math and science to fill the many STEM related positions required to innovate, build, and think creatively. If students get excited about science, math, and technology at an early age, they are more likely to study these courses as they get into high school and beyond.

If you would like to visit STARBASE for a tour and watch the excitement firsthand, contact Susan Long-Molnar,

And, don’t stop there! Support STARBASE Victory and STEM year ’round with a donation this holiday season!

STARBASE is ALIVE with Summer Campers!

What happens when you don’t code or program a Sphero ball correctly to get it to come back to you? The campers in our Drone City AEROBASE camp can tell you. After a week of coding these balls and flying drones, they can tell you about a lot of science exploration as well as the different uses of drones in research and industry. That’s what STARBASE summer camps are all about…learning while having fun!

This summer partners like the ones shown here support approximately 300 campers in a unique partnership with our non-profit, STARBASE Victory, Inc. and Portsmouth Public Schools. Every summer with their support, we have expanded both our size (number of camps) and our curriculum, bringing free attendance to the students who have either already experienced STARBASE during the school or excitedly anticipate their new experience (rising 4th graders).

The summer camps we offer are diverse, and often created with input from students. Here are the ones which are funded by STARBASE for summer 2017:

LEGO WeDo Camp, open to rising 4th graders, is designed for campers to explore robot design and programming basics as they create robotic critters and investigate principles of simple machines.

CODE TREKKERS (rising 5th graders) engages campers in decoding secret messages around Old Towne using GPS units. The goal is to find their agent! Will they find their agent before their “cover” is blown?

ECO-CADETS (rising 6th graders) engages campers in a variety of ecological activities including testing water quality, kayaking and bird watching.

DRONE CITY (rising 7th graders) is the camp where flying and coding drones in challenging obstacle courses leads to team building, aerospace knowledge and much more.

PPScoders (rising 5th , 6th , and 7th graders) involves learning the basics of computer coding, developing programs, and exploring career opportunities as they see real programmers in action.

The summer camps offer our STARBASE staff the opportunity to be innovative and plan new modules which can eventually be included during the school year. The purchase of the Sphero balls and drones, for example, may provide new curriculum ideas for the AEROBASE program (including coding).

Did you know that every STARBASE summer camp includes an educational field trip? Though field trips have often been deleted from public school calendars, we believe it is an important aspect of learning STEM skills and expanding the experiences of children in Portsmouth who may have never left the city. From Washington, D.C to visit the National Air and Space Museum & the National Museum of African American History and Culture to kayaking on Paradise Creek or an excursion on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Boat, STARBASE summer campers get to expand their worlds valuable ways.



So next time you see any of these fine STARBASE partners or others who have made a major commitment to this nonprofit, please say “thank you”!


Sphero began the connected play revolution in 2010, fusing robotic and digital technology into

immersive entertainment experiences that ignite imagination and defy expectation.


Straw Rockets? A Great Experiment this Month at STARBASE

Just to give you an idea of what goes on at STARBASE in the AEROBASE program, the students seem to love this experiment. Their teacher, Matt Stakes, (call sign “Neptune”) explains it this way: “Students create and launch a straw rocket that contains a straw, a nose cone made of modeling clay, and paper fins. For the hypothesis, students are testing how the length of a rocket affects its range of flight.  Students do this test with a short (10cm) and long (20cm) rocket.  Each group also gets a different fin design.  After the launch, we also review the data to determine how the fins affected the flight.  The experiment ties into Newton’s three laws of motion which is a theme in AEROBASE.”

Everything about the experiment is engaging, from the hands-on learning to the dedicated teachers like Matthew.

Students will create and launch a straw rocket that contains the following materials: a straw, a nose cone made of modeling clay, and paper fins.

Hypothesis:  Students are testing how the length of a rocket affects its range of flight.  Students do this test with a short (10cm) and long (20cm) rocket.  Each group also gets a different fin design.  After the launch we also review the data to determine how the fins affected the flight.  The experiment ties into Newton’s three laws of motion which is a theme in AEROBASE.

Save the Date for STARBASE Victory’s 12th Annual Golf Outing!

We hope you will get involved in our golf outing slated for Thursday, April 20th at Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club. We would love for you to review the STARBASE Golf 2017 form and see how your organization can become a sponsor, sign up to play, or plan to come out and volunteer. We also hope you will pass the form on to others! Watch our Facebook page for updates at

Industry and STEM Education – It’s a partnership

By: Christine Suter
norfolk-naval-shipyard  lockhead-in-suffolk  dacs  153979-004-8d477cba

There is a reason that STARBASE Victory maintains relationships with industry partners at the local and national level. Industry partners provide critical support for the STARBASE Victory program both in terms of financial assistance and strategic direction to ensure that the STEM curriculum prepares students for STEM careers and generates excitement and interest in the field. STEM Education Coalition Executive Director James Brown recently stated that “Public- private partnerships and incentives that promote business and industry engagement are vital components in STEM education activities and integration.” The STARBASE Victory model is just that, a public-private partnership,

To ensure that our technological fields are staffed with qualified individuals, education must prepare students to become employees in these fields. An open dialog between industry and educators is critical to meeting future technological needs. STARBASE Victory maintains a strong partnership with industry leaders in shipbuilding, transportation, engineering, and energy. Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries is the only shipyard that builds nuclear aircraft carriers for the U.S. Navy. Enabling transit across the Elizabeth River between Portsmouth and Norfolk, the Elizabeth River Crossing is a local transportation cornerstone. Our partners participate in summer camp “lunch and learn” sessions where employees describe their careers and the skills to succeed in STEM-focused careers. Additionally, STARBASE Victory students and summer campers attend field trips at local industries and universities which provides further demonstrations of STEM skills and STEM career paths.

In the summer of 2015, we partnered with the Churchland Rotary club to begin a STARBASE STEM program for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portsmouth. This camp uses the LittleBits system of magnetic modules that, when tied together teach the children how an electrical “system” works, from sensor to power pack to actuator. Students from the Boys and Girls Clubs attend a field experience to Maryview Hospital to see how electrical systems are used to help people.

SPACEBASE summer camps for rising 5th graders explore spatial literacy, modeling, graphing, team building, and leadership skills.  Using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) combined with a software program called "Mapping Your Neighborhood", students work in teams to generate and organize data, then present that data graphically.  During their walking tour of Olde Town Portsmouth, each team locates and interacts with local businesses, ultimately creating a brochure representing the areas they visited. These are just a few examples of some of our collaboration with local industries and educational institutions that contribute to STARBASE Victory being a STEM education leader.

Several studies have shown that early exposure to STEM education can help spark a child’s interest in these subject areas. STARBASE Victory does just this with its four day program for all 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students in Portsmouth Public Schools. Through continued collaboration and partnership with industry, STEM education programs like STARBASE Victory, can continue to be valuable tools to prepare the next generation of workers in STEM fields. For more information on our current partners, please read more on our website.

Make a Difference: Coding and Computing Skills Should Start Early!

Did you know learning even the basics of coding will help students in virtually any career—from architecture to zoology? Just as we teach students how to dissect a frog, or how electricity works, it’s important for every 21st century student to have a chance to design an app or an algorithm, or learn how the Internet works.

But the need to start early goes deeper than that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections (, The projection for new computing jobs is 548,200 from 2014-2024. Specifically, in Virginia the opportunity for our young people is incredible: Virginia currently has 34,469 open computing jobs (4.3 times the average demand rate in Virginia). Virginia had only 1,419 computer science graduates in 2014; only 19% were female. Meanwhile, a wide range of industries require coding, from the high-tech professionals who create coding to the coders who increase productivity day-to- day in so many operations, are faced with the challenge of hiring these technically savvy skilled professionals.


The medical industry is a good example. New standards known as the ICD-10 implemented in October 2015, aimed to provide more details on the diagnoses, treatments and outcomes a coder records from a doctor's notes, procedure recommendations and patients lab results. It didn’t take long to realize medical practices and facilities had a major shortage of coders to implement the new standards. ICD-10 uses more than 140,000 codes, including a new designation for the Ebola virus, compared to the just over 17,000 codes employed by the current standard ICD-9. Becoming an accredited coder requires anywhere from 700 to 1,000 hours of coursework in fields of study including physiology, anatomy and pharmacology. Hiring started including bonuses above the $30,000 to $60,000 salaries, not even considering higher pay for managers and auditors. This is just one example of how important coding will be in future technologies.

For STARBASE, creating PPSCoders as summer camps and continuing to expand these camps was based directly on our program outcomes which prove that when you start engaging students at an early age, they begin to see themselves in careers which they (and their families) would have never dreamed of for them! These summer camps were implemented after the first year STARBASE became a participant in Hour of Code, a national nonprofit expanding access to computer science. Their K-12 program consists of an innovative approach to professional development, curriculum, and promotional materials. You can learn more at


The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week The 2016 Computer Science Education Week will be December 5-11, but you can host an Hour of Code all year round. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

STARBASE has made this an annual aspect of the program’s curriculum because the students love it! Hour of Code at STARBASE this year will be December 7 through 9 or possibly through the 12 th . This year’s program will involve 4 th graders from Douglass Park and Lakeview; 5 th graders from Simonsdale and James Hurst, and 6 th graders from Douglass Park and Park View. Visit our Facebook for photos during the week!

Summer at STARBASE

Learn more about summer at STARBASE! PPS visitors did a great article and photos from Summer Camps.

Read the article here!