State Review Rates Camelot Program in Chester Exemplary Across Board
Talk about acing a test! Camelot Education’s Achieve Academy, which serves students in the Chester-Upland School District, has been commended by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as exceeding all state requirements. The results come from a recent periodic audit of Pennsylvania’s Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) program.
Out of the ten audited categories, Achieve Academy was given an exemplary report in all classifications. Also of note, the audit revealed no areas identified for improvement.
Camelot’s Achieve Academy serves students who have been removed from a traditional classroom setting for behavioral violations. The primary goals of the program are to provide students with the academic supports to help them get back on track for promotion and graduation. Perhaps more importantly, the program gives students, many of whom come from a traumatized environment, the behavioral tools, strategies, and strength to help them make decisions different from the ones that led them to suspension or expulsion.
Pennsylvania’s AEDY program provides a combination of intense, individual academic instruction and behavior counseling in an alternative setting to assist students in returning successfully to their regular classroom.
The audit which took place in the fourth quarter of 2018 cited high commendations that included:
- The comradery among staff, indicating strong teams that have an emphasis on building positive and highly involved relationships between teachers and student.
- A high level of communications with parents.
- The regularity of group counseling and administration of the Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System (BIMAS) with results incorporated into group counseling sessions.
- Formal quarterly reviews offered more frequently than the required once per semester.
- A wide range of supplemental, wrap-around services provided for the students, including mentoring, community engagement, tutoring, internship program, post-graduation transition plan assistance, family support services, and mental health counseling.
“We bring in partners and motivational speakers on a regular basis to speak to our students, Peticca said. “We find this really keeps them engaged and focused. It’s very, very important to show them there are ways to achieve their goals in life. Many of our students have been touched by the life of the streets. We help them realize there are paths away from that.”
Peticca’s family hails from Chester. He grew up there and remains very active in the community. In addition to his duties at Camelot, he devotes time at a local drug rehab facility and participates in local community activities.
“Other schools can learn from this report. It’s necessary to establish a rapport with students, especially the troubled kids,” he said. “They really need to see there’s a way out of their present circumstances. They need to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s what we excel in at Camelot. There’s a lot of good in these kids. The way we see it, there are not bad kids, just kids who have made bad decisions.”
Congratulations to Mr. Peticca and his entire staff at Achieve Academy!