African American Families For Educational Excellence (AFE2)
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela, President South Africa and Noble Peace Prize Recipient
“Doers want things to change and do something about it. Talkers say they want things to change but don’t do anything about it. Which one are you?
– Sonya Parker, Author
Envision Children’s mission is “to provide under-served students with supplemental educational instruction in science, technology, engineering, math, reading and critical thinking that will allow them to excel academically.”
- 82% of our students come from families with incomes below the federal poverty rate
- 87% of our students come from single parent families or where no parents are present
- 98% of our students are African American
In 2009, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati published a document entitled the “Agenda for Community Impact.” An outgrowth of that document was the establishment in 2011 of six "bold goals" for the region to be achieved by the year 2020. Two of those goals relate to the students Envision Children serves. They include:
- By the year 2020 85% of children will be prepared by kindergarten.
- By the year 2020 85% of youth will graduate from high school prepared for the next step.
Envision Children enthusiastically supports these bold goals but it also believes that declaring success in reaching these goals must be celebrated by all families to ensure that we “Catch Every Child.” Sadly in 2017 estimates show that while the overall region is surpassing both these goals, poor, African American boys and girls may be 20-30% points lower in progress toward achieving the goals.
In 2015, the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio produced its most recent version of the publication, “The State of Black Cincinnati 2015: Two Cities.” You can view a copy of the report at www.gcul.org. Outlined in the section on education are bleak statistics on academic performance in schools with a majority of African American children.
Sheryl McClung McConney, the founder of Envision Children was an educator for over 35 years. She believed that every child can learn, and every child should be given the opportunity to learn. Sheryl believed to her core that African American boys and girls can compete with their peers, sometimes it just takes a different approach or extra attention to start them on the road to academic excellence.
The African American Families For Educational Excellence (AFE2) is Envision Children’s response to her challenge to “be a doer not a talker.”
Why Envision Children?
School Districts test students at the start of the academic year. Using guidelines set by the Ohio Department of Education, the results of the test determine how a student is performing in subjects for their grade level. Based upon the results of this test students may be recommended for additional academic assistance which is provided by Envision Children.
Once Envision Children receives the names of students needing help, we review their academic performance on their report cards for the past four grade marking periods. For elementary school students we are primarily seeking to understand how they are performing in math and reading since these are the building blocks for other subjects. Any student who has a C-Minus or lower in any subject is recommended for inclusion in Envision Children’s programs and/or private tutoring.
The Envision Experience--"Catch Every Child"
Extended Day Program— Envision Children offers the Extended Day Program (EDP) for elementary school students, grades (K-3) in the subjects of math and reading. We take up to 50 students in each cohort which are grouped by grades. Each cohort had a lead teacher and four assistant teachers who work with students in small groups. EDP classes take place either before or after school and last 60-90 minutes. The EDP runs from October 1-February 28 of each school year. Envision Children uses curriculum and teaching methods developed in conjunction with the school district to mimic what is being taught in the classroom. Students are tested by Envision Children at the start, midpoint and end of the EDP to determine a baseline for instruction and how each student progresses over the five months of classes.
Mini Extended Day Programs—While the main EDP concentrates on math and reading small group instruction for kindergarten through third grade, the Mini Extended Day Program (MEDP) works with students in all grades (K-12) in subjects where students have fallen behind academically and are performing at a C-Minus or lower. Students can be recommended for the MEDP by any of their regular classroom teachers. We take up to 12 students for each MEDP which are segregated by grades. Each MEDP has one teacher who works with students in a small group or on a one-on-one basis. The MEDP classes take place after school and last 60-90 minutes. The MEDPs are available all year on an as needed basis.
Power Saturdays— Envision Children’s Power Saturdays (PS) is a four hour interactive course designed to provide fun educational programs in science, technology, engineering, math and critical thinking (STEM). Power Saturdays are offered in the winter. Students have the opportunity to pick from a course list based upon their area of interest. Instructors are all experts in the field of the course they are offering. The goal of the PS is to create and keep an interest in STEM subjects. Each course can be offered to 10-20 students depending upon the subject and space limitations determined by the instructor.
Academic Summer Enrichment Program—Envision Children’s Academic Summer Enrichment Program (ASEP) is an intensive, eight-week academic engagement program for children ages 4–10. Programs are based on themes: “Passport to Adventure”, “Great Inventions Great Discoveries I & II”, “Up, Up, and Away”, “Sports and Academics”, and “Rainbow of Culture”. Each week, students are provided reading and math instruction and participate in interactive science and art projects in the afternoon. All students take an educational field trip every Friday that all corresponds to the study subject of the week.
The ASEP organizes students into cohorts of 60 people with one teacher and three assistant teachers working each cohort. Students are grouped by grade level (Pre-K—3rd Grade) and are recommended to the program by their regular classroom teachers in conjunction with their principals. The recommendations are based upon students scoring low on the standardized testing done at the end of the year to pass students through to the next year and/or performing at a C-Minus or lower in any subject(s). The primary goals of the ASEP are to get students either back on track academically so that they can perform at an A or B level in all subjects for the next academic year and to prevent the loss of learning over the summer in subjects where they are doing well. Students are tested by Envision Children at the start and end of the summer to determine the effectiveness of the instruction.
Private Tutoring—The core of our pedagogy is small group instruction combined with private tutoring. Students who are not responding to small group instruction at one of our programs, are recommended to move into our private tutoring program. At private tutoring, students work on a one-on-one basis with a tutor. Instruction takes place after school, the Envision Children office or a public location near the child’s home such as a library or community center. We recommend at least one hour per week, but no more than 4.5 hours. Tutoring can be in one or more subjects with the same primary goal of getting the student’s academic performance in all subjects to an A or B.
Becoming a AFE2 Supporter
What is the Cost? The cost of becoming and AFE2 Supporter is $1,200 annually to support one child.
How Does My Support Help a Child? The $1,200 will provide the student with the following:
- Tuition to the Academic Summer Enrichment Program
- Tuition to the Extended Day Program
- 15 Hours of Private Tutoring
- Weekend Meals all Summer (if needed)
- Book of the Month Membership (Age Appropriate Book Delivered Each Month to the Child)
- Book bag with school supplies for the new school year
How Do I Interact With My Child and Her/His Family? You can choose all, some or none of the following interactions:
- Attendance at Parents and Mentors Day for ASEP
- Attendance at Parents and Mentors day for EDP
- Book of the Month Presentation – Quarterly Basis
- Christmas Party in December
- End-of-the-Year Lunch in May
- Becoming a personal Private Tutor or Mentor for the Student
In addition all AFE2 Supporters will receive a written report summarizing the academic performance of their student which will include a copy of their report card and Envision Children test results. The report will be presented to the Supporter at the End-of-the-Year Lunch in May or mailed to the donor if they chose not to attend the lunch.