Camelot Partners with Mastery in Camden to Help Students with Special Needs
(Camden, NJ – August 25, 2015) – Camelot Education, which already provides programming for students in the Camden School District with behavioral and academic issues, is nowoffering similar support in Camden for Mastery, the top turnaround charter operator in the region.
The relationship in Camden builds on the success Camelot has had with Mastery students in Philadelphia in a program called KAPS (K–6 Alternative Pupil Support). Mastery refers students to Camelot only after a series of academic and emotional interventions have proven unsuccessful.
“We accept all kids,” says Camelot Vice President of Operations Kevin Deal. “These kids have significant needs. A lot of the students have mental health issues. They have histories of trauma in their lives, whether it involved things that happened in the community or in the family, and they are not able to be successful in the traditional classroom. Their parents are looking for support and very shortly into our program they see that everything we told them regarding how we would help their child was right on target, and they feel comfortable about the placement.”
Because the KAPS program has been successful in Philadelphia, Mastery asked Camelot to duplicate the program in Camden. To make the move even smoother, Camelot tapped Megan Habbershon to be principal. She worked in the KAPS model for two years in Philadelphia and thoroughly understands it.
The program will begin with 36 students, 12 6th-8th graders at Mastery’s East Camden Middle School and 24 1st-5th graders at Mastery’s Molina Elementary.
Camelot’s KAPS program uses the same curriculum taught at Mastery but the focus is on therapy first.
“It’s the same rigorous scope and sequence that Mastery uses. However, knowing the kids’ needs and identifying in real time signs that a student is not going to be successful, we have staff members who are dialed into that and quickly make adjustments and provide whatever kind of therapeutic interventions are needed at the time,” Deal said.
One good example is the countdown clock. KAPS students need to know when one activity is going to end so they can get ready to transition to the next activity, so TV monitors are in the classrooms that count down the final five minutes of a class. That way it’s not an abrupt change. Little things like that go a long way with kids who have these types of issues.
Camelot’s goal is to help these students develop internal skills to manage their behaviors to advance and ultimately graduate high school. In some cases a student is able to transition back to the regular classroom. Unfortunately, in most instances that is not possible with KAPS students because their needs are so significant.
Camelot is a national leader in alternative education and operates programs in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas and Florida in addition to New Jersey.
“We are proud to serve Mastery students both in Philadelphia and Camden,” said Deal. “Mastery’s mission, much like ours, is all about helping every student make the most of his or her potential.”