Summer Academy Program


Summer Academy programs provide students with the opportunity to have fun, address elements of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), utilize technology, and build social skills. Nearly all the courses for this summer will be held in-person and on-campus at California School or the Blind (CSB). Students can attend only one course per week but frequently participate in more than one week.

To express interest in any of the courses, please complete the brief 2024 Summer Academy Interest Form (Google Forms).

Please contact Erica Hogle, our Short-Term Programs Coordinator at ehogle@csb-cde.ca.gov or 510-951-1889 with questions about Summer Academy Programs.

Information about all courses can be provided in different languages via telephone interpreters. Please contact Erica Hogle for any language support.

A student wearing an apron and gloves is standing behind a meat grinder in the kitchen.
A McDonald's employee and two students are standing and posing behind a teacher and two students who are sitting.
A student is using a meat temperature checker to test the patties in the patty grill. A teacher is assisting the student by also holding the meat temperature checker.

See the Summer Academies Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Visit our Facebook Group Page External link opens in new window or tab. to see the current news about Summer Academies and Short Courses. Here, we feature pictures of the adventures the students are experiencing while on our campus.


Week 1: June 10th – 14th (In-Person), Ages 13+

Registration deadline: May 6, 2024

Camp Abilities

This is a week-long recreation and sports camp for children and young adults who are blind, visually impaired, and deafblind. The camp will provide individualized instruction to assist campers in building skills and gaining confidence during physical activity. Come explore recreational activities in goalball, beep kickball, hiking, swimming, biking, rock climbing, and strength training. Let's get active!

Prerequisites: Must have basic swimming skills.

Design Challenge, Design Fun

This design and build course offers five days of challenges inspired by The Tech Interactive in San Jose - Engineering Activities that everyone can do. Some will make you think, some are a little silly, but all of them are fun! Bring out your inner innovator with some of these design challenges: Solar Oven Summer S'mores, engineer a solar oven with some basic kitchen supplies, paper and a box to make your yummy s'more treat; Float Away with five items from the recycling bin, build a "boat" that can float from one end of a water tub to the other; create your own roller coaster, deliver a marble or small ball (as your coaster car) safely into a cup at the end of your track; build a Zipline, deliver ice cubes straight to your drink. Join us for five days of creativity, designing, innovating, building and . . . fun!

Prerequisites: The ability to work with hands-on materials with different textures and sizes. Physical activities include building and lifting but nothing heavy or strenuous.

Cane to Canine

CSB is excited to partner with Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) to offer an Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Immersion Program! Students will work on O&M skills important for guide dog mobility such as the use of non-tactile feedback, auditory information, and time-distance estimation for indoor and outdoor travel. They will also experience Juno (simulated guide dog) routes and take a trip to the GDB campus! Students will participate in daily hands-on activities with dogs and learn about the responsibilities of dog ownership. Get ready for a tail-wagging good week, and find out if a guide dog is right for you. Activities in this course will support developing orientation and mobility, independent living skills, self-determination, sensory efficiency, and social interaction skills.

Prerequisites: To ensure that your student is a good fit for the program, please fill out the Cane to Canine Pre-Requisite Form (Google Forms).

Animal Eyes

Come explore the animal kingdom with CSB! This course is for students with low vision age 13 +. Through hands-on activities, project-based learning, field trips, and class discussion students will learn about vision through the eyes of animals. Throughout the week, students will create an animal eye model (any animal they choose!) to learn eye anatomy, structure, and visual functions. We will also visit the Exploratorium and dissect a real cow eye! Students will explore accommodations and new technologies. As a tasty treat at the end of the week, we will cook spooktacular eyeball-shaped snacks and learn about low-vision safety in the kitchen!

Build a Band

In this week-long intensive student musicians will join their talents together in the spirit of collaboration to form a musical ensemble. We will explore musical material of various styles and genres, learn new ways to deepen our musicianship, and develop a hands-on understanding of managing live sound. And have lots of fun playing music together! This course is open to musicians of any instrument and background, including voice, with an intermediate level of experience. For example, students should have at least 2 years of active study on their main instrument with the ability to play a variety of songs, chords and scales, and rhythms. Students interested in participating in the Build a Band music short course must submit a demo.

Prerequisites: Here are the guidelines for submitting the demo

  • Demo should demonstrate your main instruments and abilities in music. Any instruments and multiple instruments are ok.
  • Please share two pieces of contrasting style or feel.
  • Performance can be solo, with an accompanist or group, or with a backing track.
  • Demo can be an audio or visual recording. Please share in the way that's best for you. You can email or google share demos to clloyd@csb-cde.ca.gov. Sharing a YouTube link is also ok.

Admittance will be based on creating a balanced ensemble of instrumentation and ability. We will conclude our program with a performance in the CSB theater. Please reach out to CSB music teacher Charles Lloyd at clloyd@csb-cde.ca.gov or 510-936-5580 with any questions.

Eat Your Way Around the World

What better way is there to enjoy eating foods than to travel around the world and explore them? In this cooking course, we will visit different countries and experience their cultures. Geography, History, and Music will be laced throughout the course while cooking yummy foods. We will walk away learning to say typical phrases such as, "Ciao, mi chiamo Maria." or "Que rica comida!"

We will listen to cultural music and learn the Tarantella, a traditional Italian dance. Oh, but wait! There's more! Skills such as planning a menu, listing ingredients, and going shopping all will be introduced. While cooking, sharpen your math skills while pouring, measuring, and weighing ingredients.

Week 1: June 10th – 14th (Online), Ages 13+

The Art of Storytelling Through Podcast

Do you love to listen to stories? Whether you are into comedy, current events, or cars, there's so much content out there just waiting to be discovered. Learn how to search for the genre, personality, or channel that delights, inspires, and captivates you. Join us online as we explore the wide world of storytelling through podcasts. We will pick up some crafting tips and tricks as we listen to, learn about and share unique and powerful stories of our own. Maybe even steal the show as you perform your crafted story for a captivated audience.

If this isn't already blowing your mind, join us AGAIN in person during week three to use your new skills and knowledge to create a podcast of your own!

Educational Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons

A course for beginners to the Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing Game, published by Wizards of the Coast. We will focus on teaching the basic mechanics of the game using pre-generated characters at first. We'll continue by teaching the players how to develop their conversational, mathematics, critical thinking, decision making, and storytelling skills as they develop their characters together and discover a joint storytelling experience with their fellow students.

Prerequisites: Students must possess a basic understanding of English as a spoken and written language.

Week 2: June 17th – 21th (In-Person), Ages 9-13

Registration deadline: May 13, 2024

Doggy Paddle

Do you love dogs and swimming? Doggy Paddle is a week of creating unforgettable moments in the pool with two-legged friends and on land with four-legged friends. Spend part of the day in CSB's pool practicing water safety, learning swimming techniques, and playing games. Then shake off the water and experience the ins and outs of dog ownership, care, and training. Come ready to make a splash and have a dog-gone good time. Activities in this course will support developing the following ECC areas: recreation and leisure, orientation and mobility, independent living, compensatory, self-determination, sensory efficiency, and social interaction skills.

Prerequisites: All swimming levels are welcome (beginner to expert). Students must be willing to get in the pool and to interact with dogs. Nervousness is okay; this week is about learning and building confidence.

Educational Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons

A course for beginners to the Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing Game, published by Wizards of the Coast. We will focus on teaching the basic mechanics of the game using pre-generated characters at first. We'll continue by teaching the players how to develop their conversational, mathematics, critical thinking, decision making, and storytelling skills as they develop their characters together and discover a joint storytelling experience with their fellow students.

Prerequisites: Students must possess a basic understanding of English as a spoken and written language.

Writing Play: Playful Writing Games and Sensory Exploration

What would you serve at the Monster Cafe? What was Psycho Kitty up to at 2 AM last night? How come there was cookie dough ice cream, muddy boots and a bumble bee in the bathroom this morning? Join Writing Play this summer and share your ideas. Inside and outside fun to promote love of learning, play, new friendships and great story ideas.

Writing Play is a fun, playful way to explore and share writing. We will create stories together, play writing games, get inspired by daily sensory exploration, and journal in a fun, safe environment. Writing Play is designed to inspire kids to bring out the wonderful, silly, or serious ideas that are inside them, with no pressure and lots of support. There will be time to write together, have turn-taking, and write on your own; you can write a phrase, sentences or whole story. You decide!

Wait a minute, worried about spelling and grammar? No worries! This class is focused on your ideas and interests. Designed for both reluctant writers and the next Newbery Award winning author! Whatever you write, is just right. Each day we will also make space to notice and explore the sensory abundance around us, both indoors and out; indulging in the textures, sounds, and movement in our Sensory Room; as well as sound, taste, and texture exploration aligned to various story ideas.

Games and writing prompts may include Monster Cafe, Catch My Silly, Rhyme Time, Mixed Up and Missing, Round Robin, and MORE!! Story about the ocean? Be inspired by the feel of the sand and shells, mist of sea spray, taste of salt water taffy and the sound of ocean waves. Let's grab a braille writer or pen, the story cards, dice or maybe Psycho Kitty Poetry cards and get playing!

Camp Abilities

This is a week-long recreation and sports camp for children and young adults who are blind, visually impaired, and deafblind. The camp will provide individualized instruction to assist campers in building skills and gaining confidence during physical activity. Come explore recreational activities in goalball, beep kickball, hiking, swimming, biking, rock climbing, and strength training. Let's get active!

Prerequisites: Must have basic swimming skills.

Eat Your Way Around the World

What better way is there to enjoy eating foods than to travel around the world and explore them? In this cooking course, we will visit different countries and experience their cultures. Geography, History, and Music will be laced throughout the course while cooking yummy foods. We will walk away learning to say typical phrases such as, "Ciao, mi chiamo Maria." or "Que rica comida!"

We will listen to cultural music and learn the Tarantella, a traditional Italian dance. Oh, but wait! There's more! Skills such as planning a menu, listing ingredients, and going shopping all will be introduced. While cooking, sharpen your math skills while pouring, measuring, and weighing ingredients.

Once Upon a Playground

What's the best thing about summer? Play, of course! Join us for a fun-filled week of adventure as we visit multiple unique and exciting local playgrounds built for kids of all abilities. Experience more types of slides, swings, merry-go-rounds, and spinning structures than you knew existed. Cool off as you play in the interactive water zones, create music, and explore a playhouse with many rooms and floors. When we just can't play anymore, we will write imaginative stories inspired by our play and create tactile drawings to accompany them. Along the way, make new friends, expand your imagination, build your storytelling skills, and discover new tools for tactile illustrations! Join Holly Hody, Teacher of Students who are Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), Max Avendano TSBVI, and Assistive/Access Technology Specialist, and Tamar Solomon, Speech and Language Pathologist, for a week filled with fun for all. Go home with an illustrated storybook based upon your adventures that was created by you to share with your family and friends.

Week 3: June 24th-28th, (In-Person), Ages 13+

Registration deadline: May 20, 2024

Dive into the Worlds of Swimming and Dogs

Dip into a week of aquatic and canine fun. Join us for a unique blend of swimming pool activities and learning about pet dog companionship. Get ready to review water safety and play games in the pool! When not swimming, students will explore and practice the responsibilities of dog ownership through hands-on learning. Don't miss the chance to make a splash in the pool and build camaraderie with both two- and four-legged friends. Activities in this course will support developing the following ECC skill areas: recreation and leisure, orientation and mobility, sensory efficiency, career development, independent living, compensatory, social interaction, and self-determination.

Prerequisites: All swimming levels are welcome (beginner to expert). Students must be willing to get in the pool and to interact with dogs. Nervousness is okay; this week is about learning and building confidence.

Discovering STEM Through Astronomy and 3D Printing

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Career Exploration Lab uses 3-Dimension (3D) printing technologies and astronomy to help students with visual impairments explore STEM skills and STEM careers. Students will be introduced to 3D printing; including building 3D printers and participating in a wide variety of hands-on astronomy activities that use 3D printed tactile models. Students will learn about constellations, stars, the moon, light and energy, galaxies, and more. Students will also connect with blind STEM professionals, including a blind engineer who works at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), about how to pursue an education and career in STEM.

Tech and Rec

Amp up your TECH skills while pumping up with your REC muscles! Learn tools for your tech tool kit by learning navigation, shortcuts, using different assistive tech devices, learning about collaborative documents, and participating in team-building activities! Come join us to expand your skills in assistive technology, recreation and leisure, team building, and compensatory access!

Story...Podcast...Broadcast!!

Attention techies and tale tellers! Do you love podcasts? Ever thought about how they're made? How about making one yourself? Get a crash course in the wide world of podcasts and storytelling. Work together with your peers to pick a theme and create stories that fit together in a single episode. With support you will record and edit your segments, and then post for the world to hear!

Note: If you joined us for Week 1's The Art of Storytelling Through Podcasting then this course would be the perfect opportunity to take what you learned and put it to use!

Educational Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons

A course for beginners to the Dungeons and Dragons Role Playing Game, published by Wizards of the Coast. We will focus on teaching the basic mechanics of the game using pre-generated characters at first. We'll continue by teaching the players how to develop their conversational, mathematics, critical thinking, decision making, and storytelling skills as they develop their characters together and discover a joint storytelling experience with their fellow students.

Prerequisites: Students must possess a basic understanding of English as a spoken and written language.