In a school where more than half the students are low-income and one in five is in special education, it can be tough to ensure that every child has access to a level playing field of enriching after-school activities and extra learning opportunities. A partnership between Excel Public Charter School and Camp Fire is giving all 170 of Excel’s middle-schoolers that equal chance.
“I really respect Camp Fire because they are about serving all kids,” explains Principal Kristina Howard. “Camp Fire is values-driven and student voice-centered, and that aligns with our mission.”
Students at Excel determine the kinds of interest-based clubs they want to participate in after school — like student government, radio programming, engineering and design, community service and computer coding. Now in the second year of the partnership, Camp Fire staff has transitioned from facilitating the clubs the first year to helping teachers organize curriculum and logistics while ensuring that kids who need more support are in a tutoring club.
“We have some challenging kids here with wide-ranging abilities, but Camp Fire has never said, ‘We don’t want that student.’ Instead, they say how can we help them, how can we be sure they excel,” Kristina says.
The principal was delighted when Camp Fire staff became integral parts of the school community, not simply showing up after school but participating in assemblies, lunches and other activities. Camp Fire also welcomed Excel eighth graders to a two-night excursion to Camp Sealth.
As Camp Fire aspires to create even more after-school partnerships like the one with Excel, Kristina gives the organization high marks for forging “a really positive relationship.”
“Whatever the school needed, they were willing to listen to and create a program based on our needs,” she says.
Your Support Helps Us Build More After-School Programs
We could not have created our strong relationship with Excel Public Charter school if it wasn’t for your support! Your continued support will help us as we strive to create more after-school programming partnerships for deserving students like those at Excel.