Ascendly is a social enterprise dedicated to teaching kids, at an early age, about how things work. We use cool kits and projects to help elementary school aged kids to gain both the confidence and the competence to build great things.
While we have started small, our vision is to build a program that…
- Is based on a curriculum that is age appropriate, engaging, and full of learning opportunities
- Is available to kids from K-6 grades
- Is built off a scalable platform that will enable us to reach kids across the country, including students in the inner city and rural areas
We know – it sounds ambitious. But we are passionate about building an organization that will encourage kids to pursue science and engineering as they grow up.
Sound interesting? For more information, read our blog and check out our website.
A Short History
Started in 2009 by JJ Rohrer, Ascendly began life as a simple PTA sponsored LEGO club, putting together LEGO education kits, but soon morphed into an after-school engineering program. Ascendly aspires to create a scalable engineering program to reach worldwide. The courses and their respective procedures were designed based on firsthand experience teaching the course in several Fairfax County schools, all the while re-engineering the courses themselves for repeatability, efficacy, scalability, and enjoyability.
JJ Rohrer, Ascendly began life as a simple PTA sponsored engineering LEGO club at Waynewood ES. Starting with LEGO Education kits, crazy machines are built.
Jr. Structural Engineering
Steering away from instruction books, Jr. Structural Engineering is developed to focus kids on structures and the engineering design process. Kits are largely limited to two types of bricks which which focuses the kids on the structure, instead of finding just-the-right-piece, and it makes clean-up a snap.
First New School, and Back-to-Back classes
Ascendly expands to Fort Hunt ES. And unlike our first school, not only does Fort Hunt offer scheduled classes four days a week, but also offers back-to-back classes. This is our first exposure to a robust after-school enrichment program.
This is Timeline description, you can change me anytime click here
Ascendly adds LEGO Creative Construction, LEGO Engineering Challenges, Wooden Creative Engineering, and more, while expanding from Virginia to Maryland, and Massachusetts.
Staying cooped up accelerates our move towards online classes.
Ascendly begins offering its first online summer camps
Lori raised to regional prominence by providing Ascendly classes, via Starbright Enrichment, to the greater DC area, reaching more than 75 schools and providing more than 400 classes to thousands of elementary students. Lori enjoys intimate familiarity with the needs of schools, PTOs, and home-school groups throughout DC, VA, MD, & PA. When not organizing STEM classes, she spends time with her two children and two new puppies.
JJ started as Ascendly’s primary teacher and course developer. He brings a broad engineering background from his US Air Force Academy training and his MS in Computer Systems. After the Air Force, JJ performed simulation and process consulting, as well as being involved in several start-ups and small businesses. While part of a pilot Carnegie-Mellon acquisition auditing team, his team was specifically referenced by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board as a model for NASA to emulate. When not testing his teaching techniques on his children, JJ enjoys developing apps for the iPhone. JJ has an MBA from Harvard Business School.