Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Camp Achieve Afterschool Program

Recently, my organization, Achievement Services received the unexpected and untimely news that the funding of its Saturday afterschool program which serves at-risk children in Baltimore City schools was being eliminated.  This news is shocking and upsetting to the children and families the organization serves.  The Saturday afterschool program of Camp Achieve provides engaging, structured, quality academic and social enrichment activities for children who are most vulnerable to academic underachievement or failure.

Achievement Services plans to continue the program, soliciting financial support from all who care about educating children and preparing them for the future.
What is Camp Achieve? Camp Achieve, a program of Achievement Services, Inc., is an afterschool, out-of-school-time program which partners with Baltimore City Schools to design and implement academic programs in reading and/or math for students who are underachieving or at-risk of underachieving.  The program is designed to assist students in improving state standardized assessment scores and overall student achievement.  It is also designed to provide underprivileged students a quality, enriching educational and social experience in preparation for college and/or career.  Camp Achieve incorporates its core values of academic enrichment, parent engagement, character education, physical fitness & nutrition, health awareness and service learning into its programs.

How did Camp Achieve begin?  Camp Achieve began with a vision from the founder of Achievement Services, Brenda Wade, who strongly believes that all children, regardless of circumstance can achieve academic success if provided the opportunity for growth, exploration, and development.  Camp Achieve was developed to provide enriching, engaging opportunities to underprivileged children.

What is the relationship between Camp Achieve and the schools it serves? Camp Achieve partners with identified low-performing schools to assist with improving student achievement.  Achievement Services conducts a needs assessment consisting of data analysis, parent input, teacher input, student input and administrator input to determine the feasibility of a program within a school.  Generally, the schools commit to providing students, programmatic support, some in-kind support and very limited financial support.  Specifically, Camp Achieve has been a partner at Guilford for the past four years providing academic enrichment in mathematics.

How do schools initially partner with Camp Achieve? Generally, the initial point of contact is the school principal or administrator who begins the discussion on the possibility of a Camp Achieve program in the building.  At that time, feasibility, funding and other support availability is discussed.

How does Camp Achieve operate? Camp Achieve is an independent program with no affiliation to Baltimore City Schools and is fully operational from funds received from schools, school government, corporations and foundations.  The Camp Achieve program operates in the partner school during times agreed upon by the school and Camp Achieve.  Staff members are part-time employees of Achievement Services, Inc. and generally are certified teachers.

When does Camp Achieve operate? Typically, Camp Achieve operates when school is not in session, afterschool, Saturdays, winter break, spring break during the school year and during the summer months.

What students will be invited to participate in Camp Achieve? Targeted students of the school will be invited to participate.

What will students do during Camp Achieve hours? Students will receive at least 90 minutes of academic instruction daily, art and/or physical education, social enrichment and off-site enrichment/recreational activities.  Students will also participate in service learning activities.  Academic instruction is provided utilizing nationally recognized, research-based curriculums.

What is the cost? There is no cost to the participants of Camp Achieve.  All funds required to operate a Camp Achieve program is provided from grant monies, fundraising revenues and corporate, foundation and individual donations.

What is the vision of Camp Achieve? The implementation of a Camp Achieve program in each elementary and middle school of the Baltimore City Public School district.

What are the principles of Camp Achieve? Camp Achieve values student and parent input.  The Camp Achieve model strongly emphasizes parent engagement to improve student achievement consistently.  At Camp Achieve   parents are actively involved in program operations, volunteering in classrooms, providing supervision on off-site activities, organizing fundraising drives and participating on staff hiring committees.  The model incorporates ongoing parent meetings regarding the program and education-related seminars.  Students are surveyed to determine their feelings regarding the program as it relates to their growth and development, academically and socially.

What levels of success have Camp Achieve programs achieved? Camp Achieve participants have demonstrated improved attendance, improved school behavior, improved homework completion, improved parental involvement, and improved attitude toward education.  Pre & post test data have revealed improvements in reading and math performance.  Specifically, at Guilford, the school has achieved Annual Yearly Progress in mathematics.

How is the program evaluated? The Camp Achieve program in each school/site is evaluated by an independent program evaluator retained to assess program quality, implementation and sustainability.

How does Camp Achieve differentiate itself from other afterschool programs? Camp Achieve addresses the needs of the “whole” child by providing academic instruction, parent engagement, character, service, fitness, health and nutrition.  There are small class sizes and generally two educators in each classroom.  Students are exposed to enrichment in and out of their known community.  In addition, Camp Achieve requires ongoing professional development of its instructors and provides professional development for school-day instructors, linking the afterschool learning with school-day learning.  Lastly, the Camp Achieve model operates on Saturdays during the school year and for 6-7 weeks during the summer months.
If you would like to make a gift to the Camp Achieve program, you may do so at the organization website:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Brenda for all your hard work and dedication towards closing the achievement gap for minority students. You are the epitome of a true social worker you inspire me...thank you for caring about our students!!!!

    Enahka G. LMSW