Oakman Elementary and Middle Students Benefit From New Academic Programs
During the last week of June 2017, representatives from the Health Action Partnership had the pleasure of attending the Power Scholars Academy graduation at Oakman Elementary and Middle School. The 5-week program is part of a partnership between 21st Century Community Learning Centers, the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, the Walker County Schools System, SpectrumRED, and United Way of Central Alabama to provide summer and after school activities for students in an effort to reinforce learning done in the classroom.
Throughout the ceremony, the students performed songs, dances, and poems for their families and communities members. The event showcased not only the students’ great moves and voices, but also the commitment the Power Scholars Academy had to supporting the children’s academic, physical, and social growth.
During the Power Scholars Academy, educators and volunteers worked with the students on fun and creative lesson plans and local field trips to make learning fun for every one participating. The after-school programs will pick up starting in the 2017 school year.
The programs are a result of a three-year $450,000 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant ($150,000 annually) to enhance learning at Oakman Middle School, awarded to the United Way of Central Alabama and Walker County School system, with the aid of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham and SpectrumRED, in September of 2016. The four groups have worked in tandem on this project with each partner taking on a different responsibility in order to achieve success:
United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) – Serves as a co-grantee, fiscal agent, and is responsible for overall grant administration
Walker County Schools (WCS) – Serves as a co-grantee. Responsible for program coordination, communication with school staff, and management of supplemental funding.
YMCA of Greater Birmingham (YMCA) – Serves as the on-site provider responsible for daily implementation of program activities and coordination with school teachers and administrators. The on-site are local teachers and instructors, trained by the YMCA, with a 1:15 teacher ratio.
SpectrumRED (SR) – Responsible for carrying out the evaluation plan and assist with data collection for mid-year and final reports.
As described by the the official program handout, the 21st Century Community Learning Center is a U.S. Department of education program, administered through the states, providing grants to schools, community, and faith-based organizations, and youth development agencies, to provide high quality, expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours for children in a safe and secure educational environment.
Nearly one-half of 3rd through 8th graders were not proficient in reading or math
A needs assessment survey conducted with Oakman parents indicated three-quarters of families were likely to have their children participate in an after-school program. This information came after student achievement data suggested that nearly one-half of 3rd through 8th graders were not proficient in reading or math, according to state ACT Aspire scores. With this in mind, after-school and summer programming were pursued as a means of filling the students achievement gap.
The grants provide for year-long learning opportunities that include reading, math, participating in STEM-related activities, tutoring services, recreational activities, arts and music education, nutrition education and character education. Additionally, both the after school program and the summer program provide healthy meals for the children in attendance.
We look forward to year two of the program and the upcoming school year. To register for the Afterschool Academy for the upcoming school year, visit this link. The after-school program will be held until 6pm each day with dinner provided. It is open for students grades K-8.
For more information on the 21st CCLC grant-related programming, visit the Bold Goals webpage on the project or on the Power Scholars Academy specifically or contact Tess Kimbrell at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
The Power Scholars Academy is a national curriculum developed by YUSA and BELL Foundation. Check out the promotional video about the program.