For most adults, 2020--and now 2021--has been one crisis after another. The COVID-19 pandemic, followed by lockdowns, wildfires, smoke, rioting, election unrest, and most recently ice storms and power outages have taken a heavy toll on many families in the Willamette Valley. This toll is felt even harder by our children, who may experience feelings of desperation and powerlessness as they struggle to live day-by-day without the comforting support of school and friends to help them.
Now imagine that--in addition to this--you were a child and your family was living in a car, or had your home destroyed; or if you were migrant and living in a camp, or if your parents were themselves struggling with their own mental health during these trying times, how very alone and desperate you might feel. The CHAMP CAMP program is designed to help provide some support to the children in these situations or who are most impacted by these disasters.
The acronym CHAMP CAMP stands for Crisis, Homeless, Advocated, Migrant & Personnel’s Children’s Afternoon & Morning Program. Students are referred to the program by the Home School Contact (HSC) or administrator of each school due to health or safety issues, extreme absenteeism from online schooling, or similar concerns. These students come from every school and grade across Woodburn, and each brings a unique and critical health, safety, or wellness need that CHAMP CAMP strives to address.
The mission of CHAMP CAMP is to meet each students’ individual needs by providing a safe, nurturing environment that supports students’ social/emotional and academic needs (in that order). The vision for CHAMP CAMP is that Students are safe, warm, well-fed, rested, and engaged, while opportunities for wellness, socializing and academic assistance are offered within stable cohorts in a COVID-safe environment that works to meet the needs of each student individually.
CHAMP CAMP goals are simple:
1. Students will be provided a safe, nurturing environment that includes:
3 meals and 1 snack daily
Opportunities for naps or sleeping
Recreation and physical movement
Social interaction with staff and other students
Health-related opportunities, such as the tooth taxi, vision and hearing screenings, etc.
Mental health support
2. Students will be retained so that they can begin to regain and rebuild the skills, habits, behaviors and attitudes that can result in academic success.
3. As students develop the skills, habits, behaviors and attitudes that contribute to academic success, they will be supported and encouraged to engage in the district’s Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL), Limited In Person Instruction (LIPI), and Hybrid learning models.
These goals are student-based and sequential, meaning that success in academics is dependent on student attendance at CAMP, their health and general welfare..
CHAMP CAMP is a district-wide program that is mostly staffed by the Woodburn After School Club (ASC). ASC staff excel at providing fun activities such as arts and crafts, games, STEM projects and more. Our ability to support other areas is much more limited--so your patience and understanding is necessary. We are an entry-level employer primarily geared for providing fun after-school and summer programs, and our expertise is in fun! That said, we are working hard to implement an exemplary program and so far are exceeding our initial projections and expectations.
CHAMP CAMP operates under Emergency Childcare guidelines which provide strict requirements for operation in the COVID-19 pandemic. These requirements include cohorting, small group size, social distancing, constant cleaning and sanitizing, etc. In order to help students feel safer with each other and reduce the need of social distancing we group students by family, so all members of the same household may sit together at the same table group.
As mentioned previously, students come to CHAMP CAMP from every school and grade in the district, and it is rare for any two students at CHAMP CAMP to have the same teacher. This creates challenges for scheduling meals, breaks, etc, since no two students are on the same schedule. Further complicating things is the diversity of teaching styles and methodologies: some teachers use Google Classroom, others ClassDojo; some are using iPads, others Chromebooks; some Zoom, others Meet. The attached photo shows the schedule for one cohort of students at CHAMP CAMP. You can see that it is a complex challenge to keep things organized for each student!
Given the high level of needs presented by CHAMP CAMP students, it is necessary to be as flexible and supportive as possible each day with each student. Therefore, we allow students who are tired to nap, hungry to eat, or restless to play, even if it is during a scheduled academic time. Our staff avail themselves of any opportunity to get their cohort (or a portion thereof) outside to play, since all six cohorts have to share the same limited resources of playground, playshed and gym--no sharing! And now with LIPI starting soon, those resources will be stretched even thinner.
As a result, teachers interacting with students on video may find the background to be loud or active. This is because each student is on a different schedule, with different types of work, with different break periods, and different assignments and expectations. While we do try to provide quiet rooms vs more active rooms, it is a challenge for things to be perfect for every student every day. Our focus, after all, is wellness first, social-emotional second, and academic third.
Additionally, teachers may find students distracted or disinterested, tired, or disengaged from classwork. It is often difficult to remain focused when your thoughts are on the tree that demolished your home and put your sister into the hospital--a true CHAMP CAMP story. Every one of our students has a backstory of one kind or another that has brought them to CHAMP CAMP. Therefore, your patience with them, their cohort, and our staff, is greatly appreciated.
CHAMP CAMP staff are working diligently to help your students, but we need your help! Teachers can best help your CHAMP students by doing the following:
- Please be flexible with your CHAMP students. Allow extra time for work, modifications/simplification of assignments, and provide ample grace and patience to them.
- Please be kind to CAMP staff. Most of our staff are either in college or still in high school. They do not have teaching licenses, university degrees, or classroom experience, yet they come to work every day to help our most needy children. They need your patience and understanding as they are learning, too!
- Please do NOT call out or draw attention to the fact that your student is in CHAMP CAMP. This can stigmatize and embarrass the student and makes it so they don’t want to attend anymore. Also, please do NOT require that they turn on their cameras… for the same reason. Please allow them to engage as they feel comfortable and ready.
- Please check your ZOOM settings to ensure that if a student is disconnected they can easily get back into your classroom. https://zoom.us/profile/setting
- If you have a student at CAMP, please contact your HSC to ensure that your synchronous and asynchronous lessons and materials are available to CAMP staff.
- The best way to contact cohort staff is by email. During the day they are very busy keeping things running! If you email, please cc [email protected] so he is in the loop. We ask that you please do not call into the room during the day.
- If you have a problem or need immediate support, please call our main number (503) 981-2892 and speak to a site supervisor (Extension 2892). You may also reach out to the program administrator Stephan Price directly at (call/text) 503-893-8939 or better yet email: [email protected]. You may also contact Director Sonia Kool at [email protected] or call/text 503-951-2055.
- Please visit our staff resource page for more information: https://www.woodburnsd.org/apps/pages/CHAMPCAMP