When Camden Prep announced it would shut down on March 13, its 900 students went home with paper-based remote learning packages so that they could practice previously learned material.
Starting Monday, a whole different type of remote learning will kick off for Camden Prep.
A new family and student facing website will contain videos of master educators teaching various subjects, along with assignments that students will turn in and work on. Access to all Camden Prep teachers via phone and Zoom will continue.
Camden Prep has been distributing devices to students who don’t have a way to access the Internet, as well as helping families obtain free online service.
The videos will also be publicly available so they can be used by any students, families or educators, not just in Camden but anywhere in the U.S.
Camden Prep is part of the Uncommon Schools’ network of public schools across three states, including New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Students who graduate from an Uncommon School go on to graduate from college at some of the highest rates in the nation. Camden Prep’s high school will start in August of 2020.
Among the master teachers who will be delivering video lessons is Camden Prep’s Alicia Montague-Keels, who will teach 4th grade math to over 1,300 4th graders across the Uncommon network.
Montague-Keels has some of the best results in student academic growth in math in the entire Uncommon Schools network. Fourth graders will watch her lessons and then do the corresponding assignments to ensure they captured the lesson.
For students who are struggling to understand, one-on-one or small group help will be available from their teachers every day via phone or Zoom.
Montague-Keels has been teaching at Camden Prep for four years and is an instructional leader in addition to a classroom teacher. She started at Uncommon Schools when she was still in college as a Summer Teaching Fellow, Uncommon’s teacher pipeline program for college students.
“She is such an amazing math teacher and an amazing person,” said Natalie Cooper, principal of Camden Prep Mt. Ephraim Elementary. “We’re so excited that fourth graders across Uncommon Schools, and across the nation, are going to experience her strong math teaching skills.”
At Camden Prep, 95% of students qualify for free or reduced priced lunch. As part of making the decision to close schools, one of Camden Prep’s top priorities was to ensure that meals remained fully available to families in need.
Camden Prep partnered with the Camden City School District and Ward 2 Councilman Victor Carstarphen to ensure that the Whitman Park neighborhood would have a food site to ensure that all students are able to access pick up ‘grab and go’ meals during the closure period. Meals are available at each site for any child, regardless of which school they attend.
“Many of the families in our community were struggling before the coronavirus hit,” Carstarphen said. “That’s why I’m proud to partner with Camden Prep and the Camden City School District to ensure the children in our community don’t go hungry. When they are hungry, learning can be difficult and we want our children to keep learning through all of this.”