The Alternative Classroom Experience (ACE) is designed for students who are not performing as well in the regular classroom setting as they should be. We target academics, behavior, and self-worth. ACE has operated continuously since 1988. We currently work with the Little Rock and Pulaski County school districts, but we welcome inquiries from other districts, private schools, and home schools. Contact us for more information.
ACE FAQ’s for Schools
- How do we enroll a child in ACE?
Slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We must receive the 2 registration pages from the parent and the Statement of Needs filled out by the teacher in order for a child to have a spot put on hold. Parents attend the Initial Parent Meeting on the Tuesday before the session starts which confirms the child’s spot.
- What characteristics should we look for in recommending a child to come to camp?
The ACE program is for youth-at-risk in grades 3-5. They should have the potential to learn and behave appropriately in a regular classroom setting. Please consider poor to marginal performance in these areas of concern: peer group and adult relationships, grades, self-concept, or problem solving skills. In addition, look for sporadic attendance, stressful environmental backgrounds, moderate learning difficulties, and negative family history. It’s not always the constant discipline problem that needs the most help. Sometimes it is the quiet student who never engages that needs the camp to open up.
- What paperwork is required from the school?
Initially, the teacher should fill out the Statement of Needs on the child to start the process and help hold a spot. The more detailed the information, the better we can support a child. Also, we will need a copy of the child’s birth certificate and social security card.
- What about curriculum?
The students will attend classes daily led by a certified teacher and support staff. With two school districts and a multitude of classes represented, it is impossible to complete every skill that might be covered within their regular classroom. The camp teacher designs the curriculum based on Arkansas Frameworks, each district’s pacing guides, and independent assessments of each child. The classroom stresses basic skills, responsibility, and leadership skills. Upon return to their regular school, they should transition directly into the current studies.
- What is the Do-over System?
If a child scores below 80% on any assignment, they are required to redo the work until it is 100% correct. This is a good check and balance system for both the teacher and child.
- What if a child does not do their work?
Since we are residential with a low adult to child ratio, the students do not get away with not doing work. They cannot go to bed without finishing all assignments. At times, they may stay after school completing work or may come back for night school in the evenings.
- What about their grades?
The camp teacher will complete a written report card with cumulative averages for each subject at the end of the session that is hand delivered to the school. It will account for five-ninths (or four-ninths for third grade) of grades and should be averaged with the scores earned in their regular classroom during the appropriate grading period. The camp calendar may not fully align with each nine week period set by the district’s calendar.
- How long will the child be gone from school?
Camp is five weeks long for both fourth and fifth graders and operates from Sunday evening through Friday afternoon. Third graders attend for four weeks.
- What happens during transition week?
When the students return to the regular classroom, the staff and AmeriCorps counselors will visit their school daily to check on how they are transitioning and to make sure that they are completing work and being successful. We will pick up daily reports from the teacher about academics and behavior. It is perforated so camp has a copy and the other part is sent home for the parent. There is a graduation ceremony after completion of the program which is a cap and gown affair, and all are invited.
- How will the teacher know what skills were covered while the child was at camp?
The teacher will receive a comprehension written summary assessing student’s performance, including academics, behavior, social concerns, noteworthy incidents, and recommendations for the future.
- After camp is done, is that it for the child?
No, we emphasize that this is a long-term commitment. We will be visiting every graduate through the eighth grade about every six weeks to check in and support the child. They are also invited to attend summer camp each summer. In addition, the school is welcome to call to keep us informed about a child or to request extra support for the child. We are a resource and partner with the school and the parent.
- How do you measure success of students attending the program?
We use entrance and exit exams including the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), report cards, daily report forms during transition week, weekend parent evaluations, weekly camper evaluations, end of week evaluations, daily formative evaluations, comprehensive staff evaluations of each child at the end of the session, reports from regular schools, and end of year reports.