TAP Camp blends teamwork, ambition and perseverance for students

The week of spring break was an opportunity for some to get time away, but for others, it offered the chance for many CFISD students to come together for a fun, motivational and educational experience. It came together for approximately 100 students at the annual TAP (Teamwork – Ambition – Perseverance) Camp, held March 13-15 at Anthony Middle School.

Funded by the Texas Support for Homeless Education Program (TEXSHEP) grant, TAP Camp is a multi-department, collaborative effort in its seventh year that offers a fun and learning environment, while at the same time helping students pick up tips to help with STAAR and end-of-course exams.

“The goal for TAP Camp is to bring these select students together, give them fun-filled academic support over spring break in preparation for the upcoming STAAR test and EOC,” said Ify Ogwumike, assistant superintendent for student services. “And we have wonderful, wonderful math teachers, we have community programs (and) they work together to provide these students with some educational experiences and some strategies that they can then take back to their campuses.”

Added Bambi Robinson, community programs support staff member: “I love the fact that when they come, they’re a little down in the dumps because it’s spring break. Everybody wants to have fun and they have to go to ‘math camp.’ But after the first hour of TAP Camp, they are so excited and ready to come back the next day.”

Helping this year’s camp be even more of a success was more one-on-one instructional support from staff and volunteers.

Students were transported by bus to Anthony, beginning their day on campus with breakfast and a pep rally in the arena. Daily agendas included team-building activities, objectives for both large and small groups, and math instruction from CFISD teachers. Following a lunch provided by the nutrition services department, participating students went back into rotation activities before everyone came together for a session and prize giveaways in the cafeteria.

“It’s fun mixed with learning,” said Joshua Phong, a camp attendee and Cook Middle School sixth-grade student. “They show you so many things I didn’t realize.”

Every attending student had the opportunity to not only have fun and learning math and team-building skills, but also return home with a prize.

The camp even involved parents, as a workshop was offered. Melanie Dobney, assistant director of community programs presented to nearly 40 parents, offering mentoring opportunities and leading giveaways of free books provided by First Book and a number of prizes as well.

TAP Camp ends with a grand finale, as students perform skits to help celebrate. Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools, visited attendees and helped provide support.

“They get their math,” Robinson said. “But they also get leadership skills (and) tools to help them succeed not just in school but in life. And I get the opportunity to see the kids at their schools throughout the semester and watch some of the seeds that we plant grow.”

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