School might be out for summer, but students at Oakman Middle School in Walker County still have plenty of things to do. As part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center at the school, the Power Scholars Academy is being conducted through a Bold Goals Coalition partnership with the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, Walker County Schools, the Walker County Health Action Partnership, and United Way of Central Alabama.
The Power Scholars Academy is a joint program of YMCA-USA and the national nonprofit BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), and is a five-week summer program designed to not only tackle summer learning loss in math and reading, but to also foster physical and social-emotional growth. The program was created to boost students’ academic achievements, self-confidence and social skills, while encouraging healthy lifestyles and engaging parents in their children’s education. The Power Scholars Academy provides children with an opportunity to engage in rigorous academic instruction as well as fun, camp-like enrichment activities and field trips.
Due to its affiliation with YMCA-USA, YMCA of Greater Birmingham applied for, and received, a Power Scholars Academy grant for its summer programs at its Alabaster Branch as well as Oakman Middle School. Walker County Schools have also contributed funding, enabling the program to expand its original capacity of 50 students to its current level of 80 participants ranging from rising 1st to 8th grade. The ability to leverage this additional funding has also allowed the summer program, which is valued at $1,000 per student, to be offered at no cost to enrollees.
The Oakman Power Scholars Academy will kick off on Tuesday, May 28th and will run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. throughout the month of June. A nutritious breakfast and lunch are provided daily through the school district’s Child Nutrition Program. In addition, transportation is provided to and from the summer program each day.
This year’s theme is “Around the World in 30 Days” and Field Trip Fridays include travel to Birmingham to experience:
- the Japanese Gardens at the Botanical Gardens
- the Birmingham Zoo
- the Birmingham School of Flight
- the YMCA Youth Center
Scholars will also travel to local venues in Walker County. Participants will close out the program on June 29th with a summer showcase to share their summer accomplishments with family and friends.
To learn more about the Power Scholars Academy and the impact it is having across the nation, here is a brief video about the program: https://vimeo.com/215043740.