Camelot Education’s Austin Meehan Middle School’s Emotional Support Classroom Awarded Certificate of Appreciation
In partnership with public school districts across the country, Camelot Education programs come in many shapes and sizes, from schools of 200-300 students to a single classroom. Regardless of the number of students, Camelot’s mission is to support districts by providing additional academic, behavioral, and therapeutic supports to vulnerable students, enabling them to reengage in school and achieve success in academics and in life.
Staff at Austin Meehan Middle School in Philadelphia, where Camelot Education operates the school’s Emotional Support classroom, were recently presented with a certificate of appreciation by the school’s administration.
Students participating in this program are making positive growth in behavior and academics, and some have integrated back into the general classrooms. Austin Meehan Middle School Assistant Principal John Austerberry has held the position for five years, and he has seen the improvement of the students since Camelot arrived last year. He said the students have bought in to the program and the positive mindset Camelot brings to campus.
“During my time as the assistant principal, I have always worked with an emotional support program,” he said. “Last year, I had the opportunity to work with Camelot and their team leader Adam Locke. Under Locke’s leadership, Camelot provided supports to our school and was extremely successful. The Camelot team is very easy to work with and extremely professional. They have become a part of the Austin Meehan community and work within our school very well, providing an excellent educational and emotional support program for some of our neediest students.”
The Camelot team on site consists of four staff members who are managed by team leader Lou Hampton (who assumed the role from Adam Locke) – all of which work very closely with Austin Meehan Middle School leaders.
Camelot Education’s Emotional Support classroom is designed to support students with acute or specialized needs that cannot be met in the traditional school setting. The classroom leverages a social-emotional learning (SEL) and clinical framework to adapt the learning process to each student’s specific needs and goals. Another benefit of the program is that the students’ lives are not disrupted by being off campus, away from their peers. They go to school as they always have, and once students have met their individual behavioral and academic goals, they rejoin their peers in general classrooms.
“Our goal is to help our students learn coping skills and self-control so they can return to the comprehensive school setting for at least some of their core classes,” said Executive Director Brian Bienkowski. “Some students attend general classes for subjects such as math, reading, or science, and then they return to the Camelot classroom when that class is over. Our ultimate goal is to have them completely reintegrate back into all general classrooms. We had one student who advanced to the point where he took all general classes, but he would join us once a day for a period, basically to check in and make sure his emotional needs were met.”
The results have been dramatic. The students who had been creating disruptions are learning to manage their behavior. Suspensions, disruptions in the hallways and classrooms, and peer-to-peer conflicts have declined significantly, creating a safe, welcoming space for all students to learn.
Austerberry, the assistant principal, calls Locke a wonderful communicator who always made sure the school’s administration knew what was going on. “Mr. Locke and the team were also excellent at collecting and sharing data with us at the school and student’s parents. Mr. Hampton has continued that excellent performance.”
Mrs. Sholette, Austin Meehan’s Visual Arts Teacher’s classroom is right across the hall from Camelot’s Emotional Support classroom.
“Camelot has established camaraderie and has a wonderful rapport with both their students and colleagues here at Meehan,” she said. “Camelot has connected with the students, gained their respect, and formed a strong sense of community within the room. The students are much happier and show growth in their work and attitude. The faculty and especially the students have truly benefited.”
Camelot continues to expand its role within the School District of Philadelphia’s Opportunity Network by helping students with emotional and behavioral challenges and other alternative education needs. The program at Austin Meehan Middle School marks the tenth program Camelot partners with SDP to operate.
Congratulations to the Camelot team at Austin Meehan Middle School on their Certificate of Appreciation:
Team Leader – Lou Hampton
Teacher – Maureen Blackmore
Behavioral Specialist – Quinton Jones
Behavioral Specialist LaCosta Muhammad
Camelot coordinators supporting the class – Kara Fischer from KAPS and Carolyn Able, regional clinical director.