Camelot KAPS Benefiting from St. Joseph’s Partnership
Students from Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University’s Education Department have been gaining hands on experience supporting students at the Camelot KAPS (K–7 Alternative Pupil Support) program in Germantown throughout the fall.
The partnership has been such a positive experience for both Camelot students and the 48 St. Joe’s students involved that the arrangement has been extended to the spring where Saint Joe’s students will be student teaching in KAPS classrooms.
The college students are working toward degrees in elementary education; some are going to study special education as well. Most have not been in a special education setting or an emotional support setting. KAPS is a very unique program in that it takes a very family oriented approach.
“We aim to provide emotional and physical safety to encourage students to learn,” says Camelot KAPS program manager Carolyn Abele. “We are teaching children the basics of how to be a student first, then to help them learn. We teach appropriate behaviors, social skills and coping skills all while teaching the state standards of curriculum. KAPS provides positive reinforcement when students demonstrate our behavior norms. We reward students and are able to shape behaviors with reinforcement.”
KAPS currently has 85 full-time students for emotional support programming. They have been referred to KAPS by Mastery Charter Schools once Mastery feels it has exhausted all interventions in their building. These students come to KAPS with a variety of needs including smaller class size, high staff to student ratio, increased therapeutic supports and Camelot’s structured behavior norms.
“The students are opening up to the St. Joe’s students,” Ms. Abele says. “They love having extra hands to help then with their hands on learning, learning games and for reward time. All students love to earn one-to-one positive attention with adults. They love being able to have someone check in with them each week to see how they are progressing.”
One final note, Camelot KAPS’ mascot is the hawk. So is St. Joe’s. Coincidence? We think not!