Posted Date: 10/25/2022
COPPERAS COVE, TX (October 18, 2022)—Texas Education Agency accountability ratings show Copperas Cove ISD students performing above pre-pandemic levels with the district scoring a high “B” accountability rating of 87 percent and nearly half of the district’s campuses receiving an “A” letter grade.
However, CCISD is not resting on its laurels and is using state COVID funding to boost the academic skills of students through its new Bulldawg Academy After-School program offered on all elementary and junior high campuses.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to start an afterschool program focused on closing learning gaps,” said CCISD Director of Extended Learning and TCLAS Grants. “Bulldawg Academy benefits students academically while also recognizing that students have struggled socially and emotionally since COVID. Bulldawg Academy's vision is for students to thrive in relationships with their peers and adults, master academic skills, discover passions, and connect learning to the real world through impactful afterschool experiences.”
The program is funded through a Texas COVID Learning Acceleration Supports grant targeted to accelerate student learning in the wake of COVID-19. CCISD was awarded slightly more than $1 million dollars for the grant that is to be utilized through 2024. Currently, 215 students are being served in Bulldawg Academy After-School. Hensley said the district hopes to sustain the program beyond the grant to ensure all students are able to reach their academic potential.
"I get to review math things that I need help with or didn't understand the first time in math,” S.C. Lee Junior High sixth grader Natisha Allen said. “Today, I practiced decimals in Zearn. I hope that coming to Bulldawg Academy will help me to read fast and understand (the content) better too. I like that BookNook helps me practice reading but it's fun because there are games built in it.”
The grant requires students attend Bulldawg Academy After-School four days a week, three hours a day to include both tutoring and enrichment instruction Monday through Thursday and optional enrichment instruction only on Fridays. The first hour consists of required academic tutoring and intervention with highly qualified and trained CCISD staff using use TEA approved resources for tutoring including Zearn where students explore math through pictures, visual models and real-life examples with teacher support and BookNook which includes high impact reading language arts tutoring in small, teacher facilitated groups.
"I like Book Nook because you are learning together and reading together. We are learning and competing at the same time which makes it a lot of fun. One of the last lessons helped me learn about the definitions of words I didn't know so that will help me while reading," S. C. Lee eighth grader Jakayla Evans said. “Zearn shows us how to solve math problems like on a test, so I think it will help me with test taking strategies.”
The academic tutoring is followed by two hours of enrichment to include STEM, social emotional learning, fine arts, and athletics through a collaboration with the Copperas Cove Boys and Girls Club. CCISD provides transportation for students at the end of each program day.
“We have very dedicated and highly trained staff assisting with the tutoring piece but the facilitation for social emotional growth is also important,” Hensley said. “We are really excited to see our students’ progress and grow through this program."