The Power Scholars Academy™ program is modeled on the BELL summer program described below. Power Scholars Academy™ offers a minimum five to six-weeks of academic instruction in conjunction with YMCA summer enrichment experiences. The program operates from Monday through Friday for a minimum of 6.5 hours per day. The following key program elements make up the experience:
Daily Activities / Schedule
- Community Time: Students, called “scholars,” start the day with a nutritious breakfast and community time activity to develop leadership skills and strong friendships with fellow scholars and staff.
- Literacy: Certified teachers lead literacy instruction using a customized Scholastic curriculum. The curriculum focuses on the priority skills critical for student success: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It provides teachers with highly specific instruction and explicit, consistent, easy-to-follow lessons. Teachers used STAR Enterprise Assessments, by Renaissance Learning, on a pre- and post-program basis. STAR assessments are built for measuring progress against Common Core standards.
- Math: Certified teachers lead math instruction using a customized curriculum developed by Scholastic. The curriculum focuses on foundational concepts to prepare students for the deep mathematical understandings of the Common Core State Standards and is designed as a supplemental program for grade 1-8 scholars. The curriculum blends conceptual understanding, problem solving, and foundational skills in targeted intervention modules that get at the misconceptions that so often prevent student progress. Throughout the lessons, scholars engage in the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice as they build their conceptual understanding and critical thinking.
- Lunch & Recreation: Scholars eat a healthy lunch and spend approximately 30 minutes engaging in physical activity during recess.
- Enrichment: Scholars rotate through enrichment opportunities during the afternoon. Themes typically include:
- Life and leadership development, such as character development, social and emotional learning, civic values, substance and violence prevention, and service-learning.
- Science, technology, engineering, and math enrichment courses that enable scholars to engage in these fields in fun, non-traditional ways.
- Health and fitness activities including a wide array of traditional and nontraditional subjects.
- Creative arts providing scholars opportunities to explore dance, art, writing, music, drama, and other artistic expression.
- Additional activities are considered and included as determined through community interest.
In addition to the daily schedule described above, other Power Scholars Academy™ program elements include:
Mentor Days: Scholars participate weekly in college and career-oriented presentations, participation in community-service projects, and interaction with community leaders who visit the program as guest speakers to showcase their professions and inspire scholars to pursue excellence.
Field Trips: Friday afternoon trips expose scholars to the rich array of resources in and around their community and encourage experiential learning. Scholars may visit theatres, medical centers, zoos, museums, or historical sites.
Family Engagement: Each program has at least two family events, usually an open house prior to the program start and a family event 2-3 weeks into the program after staff have become familiar with scholars.
The Power Scholars Academy™ program focuses on academic instruction and remediation in literacy and mathematics. With the adoption and early implementation of the Common Core State Standards, BELL has expanded curriculum to include new resources consistent with common core, and to increase our focus on project-based learning and blended (technology) learning. The specific curricula (topics/units) used with scholars will be informed by the school and its efforts to implement the Common Core standards, as well as instructional focus areas, and the availability of computer and tablet devices to access online curriculum.