The creed of the school is that success is mandatory. Students are not allowed to be invisible.
What programs contribute to the success of this project?
Each student is assigned to a single advisor for his/her four years in the school. Each day includes an advisory period in which the advisor (who advises up to 25 students at one time) provides whatever assistance, support and/or suggestions that are appropriate for that student. Advisory period is akin to “homeroom.”
The 2,000-student school is divided into six schools or strands. Each strand has a “principal.” The CBHS principal supervises all of the other principals and handles one of the strands himself. So the numbers are more manageable allowing the principals to be aware of individual student needs.
Peer tutoring program
The peer tutoring program has been the real game changer in terms of academic outcomes. In this program all failing students are required to receive at least ten hours of tutoring for each F earned. This student-managed program provides opportunities for tutoring before school, during advisory periods, during lunch, after school and on Saturdays. The student leaders of the program receive a small “scholarship” in the form of cash for their services. They and the other tutors earn community service hours for their efforts. Community service hours are mandatory at CBHS. Interns from Arizona State University have also participated in the tutoring program and are currently assigned to assist students at Camelback prepare for their SAT and ACT tests.
Social Venture Partners Arizona programs
Students are supported in various programs and clubs by the funds and personal time provided by the local business and professional members and friends of the Social Venture Partners Education Affinity Group (SVPAZ) which is working closely with Camelback High School.
- Some of the SVPAZ folks spend many hours in the various classrooms working one on one with students on their projects.
- One retired engineer supervises a class in entrepreneurship and also brings in his peers to help students prepare their DECA (see http://www.deca.org) presentations.
- Other local business people work with the students in DECA with their Toastmasters speeches, a project that has continued for many years.
- Others created and run the junior achievement program.
- One SVPAZ member organized a career day in which all the students participated in three separate panels which included 80 business/professional people from the community who explained their work and why education is so critically important to succeeding in it.
- Others set up a fashion club and a culinary club which have now morphed into regular for-credit classes.
- Monthly dinners
Rick West, the original champion who enrolled the SVPAZ group to work with Camelback High School, has hosted regular monthly dinners at a top Phoenix restaurant to which he has invited five business or professional people and the CBHS principal has invited six students. At these dinners, each person is given some time to tell the group his/her life story. The students are able to explain the sometimes unbelievable life hurdles they have overcome or are overcoming, and the adults get to tell about their own hurdles and successes. At the end of the semester the school hosts a reception for all the students and adults who have attended one of the dinners and stories are again discussed and encouragement provided.
- Middle school connection
For one semester, the CBHS students also tutored students at the middle school in the Balsz District. Due to a reorganization of the schools in that district, plans to expand this tutoring program to all of the Balsz schools have been put on hold. While this tutoring program was active, the 7th and 8th grade students from the middle school were transported after school to CBHS where they not only got help in their academics but became familiar with the school to which they could be moving the following year(s). They also learned from the high school students why academics are so important and see positive role models.
- Student mixers
There have been a series of lunches attended by selected students from both the high school and middle school along with business people and school staff members. SVPAZ members also launched a junior achievement program at the middle school.