Camelot Education Recognizes 27 Spartan Academy Students with Perfect Attendance for October
Whether classes are taught in-person or remotely, attendance is always a priority. Showing up and putting in the hard work helps students achieve their academic and life goals. For 27 students at Camelot Education’s Spartan Academy, their perfect attendance for October earned them recognition from the school and pizza deliveries by staff members.
Johnny Patrick, director of operations and community outreach for Spartan Academy, said motivating students to achieve more is one of the hallmarks of all Camelot Education programs. Patrick said once the October attendance report showed that 27 students had perfect attendance, it felt like the right time to celebrate.
“It’s very important that we as educators and positive role models continue to be an anchor in our students’ lives,” said Patrick. “Recognizing our students’ achievements shows them that their efforts and hard work are not going unnoticed. It reassures them that, no matter where we are, we will always be there to support them and cheer them across that finish line.”
Patrick also remarked that Spartan’s teachers and support staff conduct ongoing home visits to help students remain motivated, engaged, and connected to school during times of remote learning.
“Our school is a safe haven for our kids and even though the building is closed, that sense of us being a solid rock for them is important,” Patrick said. “They’re happy to see us when they log in (to remote classes) for the day. Home visits reinforce the knowledge that whether in-person or remote, Spartan Academy is here for them.”
Camelot Education’s Spartan Academy is a transitional program in partnership with Richmond Public Schools (RPS) in Virginia. Spartan Academy serves RPS high school students who were referred by the district for significant behavioral challenges and often risk not matriculating, or not graduating on time or at all.
Spartan Academy teachers are very busy keeping students engaged and on track.
According to Andrea Jewett, director of education at Spartan Academy, educators are utilizing a variety of digital tools throughout the lesson such as Kahoots, Padlet, Nearpod and Pear Deck. Along with slideshows and videos from YouTube, National Geographic and others, teachers are able to effectively engage students in their lessons.
“In addition to utilizing these apps, teachers are engaging students in conversation and drawing them into the lessons by ‘dissolving the screen’ and making students feel like things are as normal as they can be,” Jewett said.
“Dissolving the screen” is a term used to describe one of the essential tools educators are now extensively using to heighten students’ awareness of the back-and-forth exchange that still exists between their teacher and themselves.
“In terms of keeping students motivated, the simplest approaches have been the most impactful,” Jewett said. “Personal communication through phone calls, texts and emails are made every day to check in on students. Teachers capitalize on the student’s strengths while in the virtual lessons, allowing them to share their screen and lead the class discussion, complete a Google form and share responses — teachers let students know that they are learning ‘all of the tech stuff’ right along with them and they aren’t in it alone.”
One of the students with perfect attendance, freshman Jynya Pryor, said learning virtually has worked for her.
“It was more of a challenge at first but now I see it as waking up to success,” Pryor said. “Every single teacher has been so supportive.”
For Pryor, the connection between showing up and achieving goals is natural, and has led to broader career goals. “There is a lot of hard work that you have to put into it,” she added. “When I started seeing how supportive my teachers and fellow students were, I really came around. I’m thinking that maybe I could have a career in the environmental sciences, developing sustainable resources and fighting climate change.”