Camden KAPS Kept Students Engaged During Remote Learning with Virtual Enrichment Clubs
When learning shifted to remote, Mastery Camden KAPS had to decide whether it would maintain its weekly Enrichment Club program that started last year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The answer was easy. The school adapted the weekly program to the virtual learning environment.
The Enrichment Club allows students to learn with hands-on activities. It involves experience-based knowledge about topics as diverse as the arts, STEM, cooking, baking, trivia and drama. Students cook together in some virtual classes and write and act out plays in others.
In a virtual environment, it was important for the school to find a new way of keeping students engaged. Through Zoom video platform, students participate in sessions that take place Friday afternoons. Teachers and counselors coordinate the events and develop creative activities.
“We delivered supplies to students weekly so they could continue to participate over the past year,” said Kristina Kurtz, Special Education Coordinator. “Students have kept up their enthusiasm even during the remote learning period.”
Twelfth grader Terron Williams enjoys the virtual cooking clubs because he appreciated the supply deliveries. “It’s a chance to see familiar faces from the school,” Williams said.
The topics change every week.
“We try to base the activities on something topical that’s happening for each month,” said Nancy Scelfo, who teaches science, social studies reading and math. “In October we did a STEM enrichment club about Halloween with a focus on engineering. Students built different types of bridges with scary Halloween spiders on the bridge. Another STEM project involved carpentry with students making a shelf.”
Students responded to a variety of virtual activities. Fifth graders Dontae Garrett and Juan Horta enjoy the creativity with each session.
“I loved the virtual wing bowl eating contest,” said Garrett.
“The scavenger hunts and the trivia club were a lot of fun,” said Horta.
The virtual Enrichment Clubs have helped students gain computer literacy skills and social skills.
“The Enrichment Club sessions are an opportunity for some of the shyer students to open up more, and that’s always exciting to see,” said Kurtz. “One of the reasons why I love what I do is seeing students grow, not just academically but also in terms of their overall behavior. That’s why we do what we do; help our students see the wonderful potential within themselves.”
Mastery Camden KAPS is an early educational therapeutic and behavioral school for young K-12 students in partnership with the Mastery Schools network. Students who attend benefit from smaller classes with more individualized attention and a nurturing environment. Mastery Camden KAPS is a Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) school. SESI is a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who face challenges that prevent them from being successful in a traditional classroom. SESI partners with school districts to run in-district classrooms and stand-alone schools that meet the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of special and alternative education students.
When students return to in-person schooling in March, Enrichment Clubs will return to being in-person as well.