‘Camp Connect’ bringing effective teachers, struggling students together over Spring Break

Some educators may look at Spring Break as a time to get away from the classroom, but for School Support Officer Kim Fonteno, that week-long period is a golden opportunity to help some of the district’s lowest-performing students master critical objectives.

That’s why she developed “Camp Connect” this year, a workshop for students in grades 3–5 at schools on the city’s southeast side.

“We wanted an arena where our most highly effective teachers would be teaching our most struggling kids,” explained Fonteno. “The goal was to create an environment where we could bring these two groups together.”

About 30 highly effective teachers will teach a total of 450 students at three host campuses. The groups will be composed of struggling students from three or four nearby schools, as well as 20 students from each host campus. Students will receive 16 hours of focused instruction over the course of four days, from teachers with proven track records of success.

“We’re not spending a lot of time on testing, because our focus is really the instructional piece,” added Fonteno. “But we are using TEKS data to show students’ strengths and weaknesses to create lesson plans. We plan to focus on two power objectives a day, based on the trends we’ve identified.”

Host campus locations are: Windsor Village (south), DeZavala (upper-east), and Golfcrest (lower-east) elementaries.

Participating campuses are: Brookline, Bonner, Dodson, Franklin, Grissom, Gross, Foerster, Hobby, Mitchell, Rusk, and Tijerina.

Through special arrangements with HISD’s Food Services and Transportation departments, participating students will also receive free breakfast and lunch and free bus service to and from the host schools.