Gardner Pilot Academy/Final report

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Report from Sugar Labs to Gould Charitable Foundation

Thanks to a grant from the Gould Foundation, Sugar Labs has been able to learn a great deal about Sugar-on-a-Stick deployments: what is needed to make them successful and scalable in Boston public elementary and middle schools such as the Gardner Pilot Academy (GPA).


Activities supported by the grant include:

Synergistic activities

The work done for the Grant also indirectly supported a number of other beneficial activities in the Sugar ecosystem:

  • Supported a student project at Babson on Sugar (See
  • Supported planning for an India deployment at Boston University.
  • Supported creation of a BU Sugar Club and a partnership with a BU Education School professor.
  • Supported and help to inform a Rochester Institute of Technology program that is created 4th-grade math activities for Sugar.


What we learned:

  • Students in Boston schools, i.e., GPA and Lila Fredrick, are very engaged and learn when using Sugar.
  • Middle school students are still a good target audience for Sugar.
  • Second graders in urban public schools can use and learn from Turtle Art, a block-based Logo programing environment.
  • Gained useful experience in obtaining and setting up used computers.
  • Developed strategies for labeling sticks and setting up computers in the classroom.
  • Developed strategies around time and class management that optimizing lesson plans around boot of machine.
  • There are technical issues to be resolved before Sugar on a Stick is ready to go to scale in the public schools.
  • Schools are hesitant to send computers home until booting is easier.
  • Booting Macs is inconsistent and somewhat unpredictable, a technical issue that needs work.
  • Lack of Flash support in Sugar-on-a-Stick distributions is an issue for some teachers/students (Gnash was not adequate for their needs).
  • Sticks need to be easier to replicate, more stable, and boot faster.
  • Work-study students are not a reliable source of talent, because not all students are eligible and universities, e.g., BU, run out of work-study money. We need to budget for students who are not work-study eligible.
  • Support for Response to Intervention (RTI) is an important feature request for the Boston Public Schools.
  • The GPA's extended-day program means there is less time for informal learning then at other schools where the after school program is less structured.


To date we have spent $2,581.11 of the $20,000 grant:

  • Work-study students from BU and Harvard
  • USB sticks, other misc computer goods, and copying

We intend to use the remainder of the funds to address the technical issues we have encountered and to plan another pilot in a Boston or Greater Boston Area school.