The Excel Community Association of Alamance ECAA) has strategically developed Champions Academy, a year round program that will educate, empower and engage students living in low-income areas and attending underperforming schools. The program, Champions Academy will operate at Ebenezer United Church of Christ, an established institution with strong ties and lasting relationships within Alamance County, Burlington community.
ECAA collaborated with partners and stakeholders to develop services aligned to needs identified by stakeholders. Champions Academy (CA) hours of operation will provide students with at least 17 hours for 38 weeks during the school year and at least 40 hours for six weeks during summer. Classroom sizes will be small with a teacher-student ration of 1:14 or smaller. Transportation and healthy supper meals will be provided year round to all enrolled students.
Champions Academy will provide programming designed to meet state and district learning goals and address prevalent risk behaviors identified in needs assessment. We identified evidence based and best practice activities to address needs of students we plan to serve. The proposed program objectives involve five program components: (1) Integration of academic, health, recreational and cultural programs (2) Extended access to technology and online tutorial (3) Enrichment activities that build upon school learning objectives (4) Nutrition, career, finance and preventive programs for students and parents and (5) Relevant workshops to improve parent engagement and support and 6) STEM activities. Our priority is to provide programming to help students meet or exceed local and state standards in core subjects as required by Common Core Standards. Champions Academy will offer four daily scheduled activity periods to address deficiencies in students’ performance and boost student achievement. Activities include Homework Assistance, Tutoring in English Language Arts/Reading and Math, Enrichment including STEM and Life Skills activities. All daily activities are connected to school day learning and reinforce learning objectives. Daily activities will help student’s master objectives, strengthen reading comprehension strategies and develop problem solving techniques.
The program will employ a Program Director, Lead Teachers, Assistants and Support Staff. The academy has a host of committed volunteers to support teachers and serve as Reading and Lunch Buddies. All staff must pass a background check, including sex offender records check, attend mandatory orientation and two-day staff training. Nationally ranked Elon University will provide instructors to implement our Fine Arts, STEM and enrichment programs.
Parents are a valued partner and will play a key role in our program success. Through building authentic relationships and offering relevant workshop topics in parenting, finance and other identified topics, we expect to see an increase in parental engagement.
Monthly staff professional development sessions are essential to program success. Our training schedule will allow staff to be effective and meet targeted goals. Administrative staff will attend afterschool conferences to increase knowledge and strengthen existing program. Program Director and staff will hold weekly debriefs to refine research-based instructional strategies, monitor students’ progress and provide opportunities to discuss success, challenges and make changes. Program Director and staff will track and review program data including attendance, school grades, assessment data and other measurable tools that will be used to guide instruction, develop lesson plans and tutorials. Planned monthly field trips will allow students to engage in learning, have fun and become knowledgeable of the surrounding community. Culturally relevant trips will connect school day learning to real world experiences. College tours will expose youth to college life and instill the desire to pursue higher education.
Our STEM program will expose students to 21st century global skills. Science teachers will provide weekly STEM programming that builds skills and increase knowledge of STEM careers. A community garden is incorporated in STEM and will also serve as a community service project. Middle school age youth will participate in career exploration and college readiness activities. Age appropriate community service projects will promote social responsibility, build leadership skills and instill character to promote good citizenship.