A group of teachers at Academy Hill has implemented an after school program called Kids Can. It is a program designed to give children varied, and positive learning experiences. Its intent is to help kids broaden their understanding of the world around them and give them a chance to think about what is possible for them now and in the future. Kids Can encourages students to think about what they can do to achieve their personal goals in the present, and creates a foundation that will help them aspire to set
new goals for the future.
Now, in its fifth year, Kids Can has become a great success at Academy Hill School. However, this could not have happened without the support and unwavering commitment of the folks at Barclays. From the beginning, they have supported Kids Can financially and personally. When the program began, back in 2009, Jen McEntee, director of Barclay’s call center in Wilton, along with several of her staff, volunteered their time to become mentors for Kids Can students. This partnership with Barclays continues today, and in large part, sustains the program and allows it to improve each year.
During the 2011-2012 school year, the teachers at Academy Hill School decided to explore new options for Kids Can. In keeping with a desire to give kids real world experiences, Sean Minear, was contacted and asked if he would be willing to teach students about the world of Culinary Arts. Mr. Minear, eagerly accepted this invitation and followed up by inving the group to come to Foster Tech. The experience was divided into two sessions. In the first session, students were given a tour of the facility and a basic orientation of Culinary Arts. During the second session, Mr. Minear set up
cooking stations and, together with three of his high school students, Academy Hill 3-6 grade kids learned how to work in a commercial kitchen and prepared their own meal. In just an hour and a half, Kids Can students were able to design, build, cook and eat pizzas they had created with their own hands. What a wonderful learning experience for all!
Truly inspired by the Culinary Arts adventure, teachers at Academy Hill School, contacted Mr. Glenn Kapiloff, principal of Foster Technology Center. As teachers met with Mr. Kapiloff, it was obvious that he shared their passion for giving kids hands on learning experiences. Options were considered and in the end.....Culinary Arts, Digital Media, and Commercial Arts were chosen for the 2013-2014 school year. As of January 27th, 2014 .... the kids, teachers and mentors of Kids Can have made five amazing trips to Foster Tech. Mr. Kapiloff started the year with a tour of the new Foster Tech facility and all of the programs that it will offer AHS students. The next two sessions on December 5th and 12th, took Kids Can back to Culinary Arts with Sean Minear who once again worked his magic with another very engaging experience!
On January 16th and 23rd, Chris Davis, instructor of the Digital Media program,welcomed Kids Can and gave students first hand experience with real t.v. cameras,the operation of a t.v. studio, interaction with green screen technology, digital cameras and videography. He also shared short productions that had been produced by his students. All were very impressed and inspired! During the second session Mr. Davis and three of his high school students filmed a short film featuring Kids Can students. Through this experience, AHS students learned that there is so much more to making a movie than meets the eye. They watched as their footage was downloaded, edited and then played for them! Once again, teachers and mentors watched Mr. Davis and his students work their magic as AHS students in grades 3-6 were totally mesmerized by the whole process! The next Foster Tech. adventure, scheduled for March 20 and 27th will be with Mr. Charlie Fontaine in the Commercial Arts program. Already, Kids Can students from all grade levels are asking when they will be going back to Foster Tech. For them the month of March can’t come soon enough. They are anxious to engage in the next unique learning experience.
If it takes a village to raise a child, then Kids Can may have hit the mark! Students in this program are benefiting on so many levels. First of all, their parents enthusiastically support the program. They know that their children are being exposed to a wide range of unique learning opportunities that will prepare them for the future. Barclay’s mentors are eager to support this effort. They help students develop by being great role models who enjoy helping kids succeed. Without Barclay’s financial support, this type of program would not be possible. Instructors, students and Administrators at Foster Tech have very graciously shared their knowledge, their time and most importantly, their passion for learning with students from Academy Hill School. They have inspired AHS students to begin thinking about a variety of career choices for the future. Finally, Academy Hill School Teachers are pleased to be able to offer a program like Kids Can because it gets at the very heart of education and that, of course, is to prepare students for the future. Kids Can plants, and nurtures the seeds of opportunity. It is our hope that students will take these collective experiences and, over time, use them as a guide to make informed decisions and build a successful, fulfilling future.