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«Camden Prep 1575 Mt Ephraim Ave Camden, NJ 08104 Jason Javier-Watson, Principal Julie Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer Michael Ambriz, Chief ...»

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Camden Prep

1575 Mt Ephraim Ave

Camden, NJ 08104

Jason Javier-Watson, Principal

Julie Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer

Michael Ambriz, Chief Operating Officer and Renaissance School Project Lead

ANNUAL REPORT: 2014–15 (Year 1)

JULY 31, 2015


NJ Department of Education

Division of Innovation

P.O. Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625-0500

Phone: (609) 292-5850 Fax: (609) 292-4708

Camden Prep

Annual Report Page 1




2.1. Enrollment

2.2 Renaissance School Project Demographics in 2014-2015


3.1. Mission

3.2. Academic Program

3.3. Academic Performance

3.4. 2015-2016 School Calendar



5.1. Board of Trustees

5.2 Organization/Leadership


6.1. Funding

6.2 Structural Changes





–  –  –

Name and Title of Renaissance School Michael Ambriz Project Primary Contact Chief School Administrator Primary Contact Email Address mambriz@uncommonschools.org

–  –  –

Grade Grade Grade Grade Commitment to Serve All Students Camden Prep’s entire school and academic program has been modeled off of the 18 years of success of North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. The two entities collaborate as they work to advance the opportunities of all children in Newark and Camden, NJ. As such, every student at Camden Prep falls into the statistical category of “at-risk” established by No Child Left Behind, given the combination of factors that surround them. However, Camden Prep is founded on the principle that all students can achieve greatness.

Therefore, the school is dedicated to meeting every student’s individual needs, and ensuring every school program targets every student. In addition to the hard work of each classroom teacher, additional services are provided to meet the varying needs of our students.

The Center for Skill Enhancement is one of Camden Prep’s means of reaching students who are struggling to achieve within the rigorous curriculum. The Skills Room provides small group instruction for students with disabilities, students who are in need of skills intervention and students who require support with study and organizational skills. The Skills Room has a full-time teacher, an Instructional Leader for Special Education and Learning Disabilities Consultants who lead the Child Study Team. As a center, they collaborate with classroom teachers regularly, helping to implement the best techniques for reaching struggling students within the classroom. Additionally, we have full-time teachers devoted to providing individualized and small group skills work in literacy and math to general education students in need of skill intervention. All Camden Prep students receive strategic tutoring designed to help them master specific skills necessary for tasks in their core academic courses.

● Special Education Services: The Center for Skill Enhancement also coordinates special education services. Camden Prep works hard to eliminate the stigma and low expectations associated with the Special Education classification. To that end, Camden Prep has an inclusion model in which students in the school do not know that there are special education students unless they are classified themselves. In Camden Prep’s first year, although we only had kindergartners, our experience showed an increasing number of students getting classified with IEPs as the school year progressed.

The Skills Center managed the cases of 11 students who have IEPs, which equated to 17% of the student population. These included students with learning disabilities, autism, cognitive impairment, emotional disturbance, communication impairment, ADHD and students who receive speech only services. These students are provided individual pull-out instruction, small group instruction, and inclass support. The Skills Center staff collaborates with general education teachers to establish the most effective curriculum and instructional modifications, including the identification of “power” standards—the most important skills each child must learn at each grade level. The Skills Center staff also coordinates annual review meetings and reevaluations. In addition to providing services for Camden Prep Annual Report Page 6 students who are already classified, the Center also manages the Intervention and Referral Services and Child Study Team Evaluations for those who were suspected to have a disability (a natural role given the extensive work done with non-classified lower-achieving students).

● English Language Learners: As part of the registration process, families are asked to complete a home language survey to determine if another language is spoken in the household. Any surveys returned indicating another language are reviewed by the Child Study Team to determine if additional testing is required. The review includes classroom observations to verify the student’s ability to succeed academically in a traditional classroom setting, as well as follow up conversations with the family.

Furthermore, to ensure families are aware of our commitment to serve all students, our marketing materials expressly say that students with special needs are welcome at our school.


3.1. Mission The mission of Camden Prep is to prepare each student to enter, succeed in and ultimately graduate from a four-year college. Our education model consists of two core components: a highly rigorous academic curriculum paired with a focus on strong character development.

In terms of the rigorous academic curriculum, Camden Prep uses data to drive instruction and ensure that each individual student is on track to meet their academic goals. At each grade level, students are assessed quarterly in key content areas. The data from these interim assessments are used to inform any instructional changes needed to close gaps between where students are performing and the target academic goals and to tailor interventions for specific students that may be struggling. In addition, Camden Prep has an extended school day and an extended school year in order to maximize the time that students spend on learning Character development is the second key component of Camden Prep’s education model. Camden Prep’s students are expected to live by the core values of caring, courage, justice, respect and responsibility. Students have opportunities to exemplify these core values daily, most particularly during “Community Meeting,” where the school community gathers in the morning to reaffirm its community vision and the actions they can take to support the community ongoing. Both in and out of the classroom, Camden Prep has a wide array of course offerings to help students become well-rounded individuals and to better prepare them for college life.

Some other innovative features of the Camden Prep’s program are around the strong systems and routines that we use to ensure high quality instruction in all of our classrooms and to allow teachers and students to focus their time on teaching and learning. Some examples of these include routines for handing in homework for all class subjects at the beginning of the day, shared lesson plans across classrooms, and normed observation and feedback structures.

Finally, Camden Prep creates a culture around college preparedness and readiness. Classrooms are named after universities, college banners fly on the walls and college visits are part of field trip offerings.

–  –  –

Curriculum and Assessments In the spirit of continuous improvement, Camden Prep’s staff recognizes that the school must always search out ways to better educate students. Camden Prep continues its school-wide focus on the powerful tools of data-driven instruction and curriculum planning to further drive students’ academic performance. This begins with the creation of the initial Camden Prep curriculum based on North Star Academy’s model, and then an annual revision of the curricula and interim assessments (given at 6-8 week intervals) in grades K-12 in an effort to guarantee alignment to New Jersey State Standards and the Common Core. North Star Academy and Camden Prep work relentlessly to ensure alignment between the interim assessments and the curriculum.

With this end in mind, Camden Prep’s staff members will be charged each year with creating updated curriculum maps and plans which align the standards and objectives with rigorous activities and assessment questions. This process will continue with the development of strategies to: 1) gauge student understanding and mastery, 2) analyze the results of interim assessments, and 3) ensure the students’ mastery of content moving forward.

The annual revisions of Camden Prep’s curricula and interim assessments follow a three-year review cycle that spans all grade levels. In Year 1 of the cycle, the ELA curricula & assessments are reviewed; in Year 2, the focus is on the Math curricula & assessments, and in Year 3 the content-area curricula (Science, History, Arts, Foreign Languages and Physical Education) come under scrutiny. This process is the culmination of a long history of improvements at our partner school, North Star Academy. Between 2008-2012, North Star Academy developed and revised interim assessments for grades K-12 in Literacy and Math. In 2012-15, these interim assessments and accompanying curricula were revised for a deeper alignment to the Common Core.

In 2015-16, K-8 Math will be doing a thorough re-organization of the curriculum and teaching methods to match the interim assessments and build a better scaffold for the mastery of the Common Core Standards.

Camden Prep will partner in all of this curriculum alignment work.

Each curriculum and assessment revision is accompanied by rigorous analysis and workshops designed to meet teachers’ professional needs. Uncommon Schools’ instructional leadership will continue to analyze assessment results across regions to ensure that we are designing strong professional development sessions that meet the needs of our students.

Supporting Student with Social, Emotional and Health Services Camden Prep’s program centers around academic rigor and joy. Integral to our curriculum is our focus on core values; caring, respect, responsibility, courage and justice. The focus on our core values is woven throughout our entire school day to ensure that scholars are not only growing academically but also socially and emotionally. For example, each day we begin our school day with morning meeting or morning circle which builds our culture around core values. Additionally, scripted into our lesson plans are opportunities for teachable moments that link our curriculum with our core values.

To meet the needs of our students, a social worker has regular sessions with students to meet the needs of their IEP. Similarly, the social worker also meets with student identified as “at risk” and in need of additional support throughout the school day. Our full-time school nurse is onsite daily to support the health and wellness needs of our students. The school nurse not only works with students when they have medical concerns but also works proactively to provide health education programs such as our dental and vision days for students and families.

–  –  –

State Student Assessments Camden Prep does not have state assessment data at this time.

Internal Student Assessments Uncommon Schools has become a national leader in the field of data-driven instruction. North Star Academy’s managing director, Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, has literally written the book on it, Driven By Data.

Over 3,000 urban schools have been trained in the assessment model used at Uncommon Schools that drives all academic goals and objectives. One of the founding principles of the Uncommon Schools model is that interim assessments are critical school-wide management tools that focus instruction on the specific standards and skills that students most need to learn. Since launching data-driven instruction in the summer of 2003, the Assessment Committee (consisting of school leaders and staff) has written and revised over 165 assessments: 4 - 5 assessments each in Math, English, Science, History, Spanish and the Performing Arts for grades K-12. Each assessment is precisely aligned to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, college readiness standards, and the school’s scope and sequence. The K-2 assessments were aligned with New Jersey State Standards and TerraNova exams for grades K-3. In 2010-2011, assessments for the 3rd grade were written with a similar focus on consistently high rigor. The assessments also include additional standards/objectives that are important for college readiness. At the elementary level school, teachers also utilize STEP Assessments from the University of Chicago to gauge progress in literacy. This year, the school also made general revisions to all assessments to more tightly align them to the instructional goals, as is done each school year. In subsequent years, the Uncommon Schools Assessments will be continually adjusted to reflect the learning of its students, constantly setting higher achievement goals.

Throughout the school year Camden Prep’s performance on our internal assessments grew significantly. By using internal interim assessments and STEP reading assessments, progress was measured in both literacy and mathematics. For example, on our STEP Assessments in September, 19% of Camden Prep scholars achieved the benchmark. However, at our June STEP Assessment, 90% of scholars were on or above the end of year benchmark. In Mathematics, 36% of scholars were proficient on our October assessment; however, at our final assessment in April, 84% were proficient.

3.4. 2015-2016 School Calendar See Appendix B


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