Accelerated to Achievement
The Academic Access and Achievement Program (AAAP) supports a wide range of school-based acceleration and enrichment programs offered beyond the school day, week and year. Below are a few highlights of how HCPSS students are supported and challenged at schools around the county.
Instructional Support: Intentional and Personalized
All high schools and most elementary and middle schools offer an academic intervention support for students who can benefit from academic reinforcement. Whether through HCPSS’ Beyond School Hours program or the federally-funded Bridges Over Howard County, “the intent is that during our programs, students are improving their skills, they are gaining better understanding, so when they return to their classrooms, they are able to make connections,” said Coordinator of Academic Access and Achievement Programs Zeleana S. Morris.
To cater to specific school needs and goals, each academic intervention program’s schedule and setup are personalized. For example, in Josh Sydnor’s second year as AAAP site coordinator at Clarksville Middle School, he transitioned the program from after-school large group sessions to smaller, before-school mini sessions to provide more individualized instruction and flexibility while avoiding schedule conflicts with other clubs.
Sydnor said, “This year we’ve been more successful than the past because we’re finding small pockets of those needing specific support, and there’s more one-on-one.” He continued, “With small and shorter sessions, we can start immediately and cover as many bases as possible. This way we can improve classroom achievement, MAP scores and ultimately PARCC scores for everyone.”
One School’s Extended Day Umbrella
“Our entire extended school program gives all students academic and enrichment opportunities beyond the school day, with a homework club open to all students and a variety of targeted programs to meet specific needs for specific students,” said Shannon Reed, Hammond High School site coordinator.
Serving approximately 600 students per year, Hammond’s Extended Day umbrella of programs simplifies communication and coordination. The variety of targeted offerings include: ESOL support, credit recovery, academic mentorship, Algebra 2 boot camp, PARCC and HSA interventions, SAT prep, Stress to Success program for graduating seniors, and AP boot camps. The Extended Day programs are also connected with the Hispanic Heritage and International enrichment clubs.
Team-Based STEM Enrichment Through MESA
Guilford Elementary School partners with a Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) Community-Based Learning Center to host Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program for approximately 30 4th- and 5th-graders. Students build teamwork skills as they meet weekly after school to work on hands on group projects that eventually go to a county competition. Student teams build weight-bearing balsa wood bridges, present on “effective communication” topics such as air pollution and recycling, code computer games, or create amusement park models based on storybook themes. Student learning is supported by a partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
A Wealth of Supports
The AAAP umbrella, which has been operating at HCPSS for more than two decades, doesn’t end there. Transportation is available for students participating in these and other AAAP offerings. To learn more about AAAP, visit http://www.hcpss.org/schools/academic-intervention/.
Spotlight on Students
“Learning how to code is fun. I like helping other students with computers and have always had an interest in them. I use the creativity I’ve learned from the MESA coding project in the classroom and definitely want to work in computers growing up.”
—David Yaratch, Guilford ES, 5th-Grader
Yaratch’s game, made through the computer program Scratch, aims to make players aware of Internet safety and security issues.
“After participating in Beyond School Hours, I have found it easier to understand the material and actively participate in the classroom.”
—Yasmina Long, Clarksville MS, 7th-Grader
In her first year with the program, Long has already seen her grades improve from participating in a GT math session.