Students blend teamwork, ambition and perseverance in TAP Camp

March 20, 2017

Bleyl Middle School sixth-grade student Steven Spears delivers a pie to the face of Dennis Watkins, Arnold Middle School counselor, during a fun activity outside the Berry Center on March 16.
Bleyl Middle School sixth-grade student Steven Spears delivers a pie to the face of Dennis Watkins, Arnold Middle School counselor, during a fun activity outside the Berry Center on March 16. 

March 20, 2017—Approximately 150 CFISD students gathered at the Berry Center March 14-17 for a fun, motivational and educational experience at the annual TAP (Teamwork – Ambition – Perseverance) Camp, held during the week of spring break.

Funded by the Texas Support for Homeless Education Program (TEXSHEP) grant, TAP Camp utilizes multiple district departments— curriculum and instruction, community programs, transportation, food service and community engagement—to offer a fun-filled, team-building learning environment for students.

Fay Kirby, teacher at the Alternative Learning Center—West, shares a laugh with Cypress Springs High School junior Jeremiah Lampkin during a math lesson on the first day of TAP Camp on March 14.
Fay Kirby, teacher at the Alternative Learning Center—West, shares a laugh with Cypress Springs High School junior Jeremiah Lampkin during a math lesson on the first day of TAP Camp on March 14. 

“It’s one of my favorite events of the year because our students are engaged during a week when they might otherwise just be at home,” said Dave Schrandt, director of student services for admissions, attendance and transfers and TAP Camp organizer. “We had 30 awesome math teachers coming to help them. I love seeing these same students at graduation time, when they’re walking across the stage and their success is realized.”

Buses delivered students to the Berry Center each day, which began at 8:45 a.m. with breakfast followed by a pep session in the arena. The students then broke into large groups (third through fifth grades, middle school and high school) and rotated between team-building activities from community programs staff and interactive math instruction from CFISD teachers. Following a lunch provided by the food service department, students went back into rotations before finishing with a large-group session and prize giveaways in the arena prior to 3 p.m. dismissal.

TAP Camp concluded with a grand finale in the Berry Center theater on March 17, featuring skits, a talent show and student testimonials about their experience.
TAP Camp concluded with a grand finale in the Berry Center theater on March 17, featuring skits, a talent show and student testimonials about their experience. 

A parent workshop was held on Thursday night, and Friday finished with the grand finale in the afternoon featuring skits and testimonials from the students.

CFISD business partners and faith-based organizations donated more than $18,000 in prizes, gift cards and other incentives for students participating in TAP Camp.
CFISD business partners and faith-based organizations donated more than $18,000 in prizes, gift cards and other incentives for students participating in TAP Camp. 

Community programs staff members kept the atmosphere lively throughout the week, leading groups in games, songs and dancing for an energy-fueled camp.

Francone Elementary School teacher Lindsay Dickens works on a math problem with Hancock Elementary School fourth-grade student Tavionn Pickens during the second day of TAP Camp at the Berry Center on March 15.
Francone Elementary School teacher Lindsey Dickens works on a math problem with Hancock Elementary School fourth-grade student Tavionn Pickens during the second day of TAP Camp at the Berry Center on March 15. 

The generosity of many CFISD business partners, who donated food, prizes and activities, helped make TAP Camp a success:

  • Bahama Buck’s;
  • Carl’s Jr.;
  • Moody Gardens;
  • McDonald’s;
  • Biggby Coffee;
  • Massage Heights;
  • Orange Leaf;
  • Pita Pit;
  • Track 21 Karting;
  • Willie’s Ice House;
  • Calvary Community Church;
  • Copperfield Church;
  • St. Mary’s Episcopal Church;
  • Houston’s First Baptist Church;
  • Knapp Chevrolet;
  • American Heart Association;
  • Courtyard by Marriott Houston NW/Cypress;
  • North Cypress Smiles;
  • NWN Corporation;
  • Robin Haynes State Farm;
  • Salas O’Brien;
  • Spring Branch Community Health;
  • Whataburger;
  • H-E-B;
  • Texas Roadhouse;
  • Romero’s;
  • Raising Cane’s;
  • Papa John’s; and
  • Zaxby’s.

The total donations throughout the week were valued at more than $18,000.

“The support of community business partners and faith-based organizations was phenomenal this year,” Schrandt said. “They all went beyond the call of duty to make this week special for our students.”

Model math instructors from throughout the district were chosen to assist TAP Camp participants with remedial math instruction.
Model math instructors from throughout the district were chosen to assist TAP Camp participants with remedial math instruction. 

Community programs staff members send off students with a positive goodbye after the first day of TAP Camp on March 14.
Community programs staff members send off students with a positive goodbye after the first day of TAP Camp on March 14. 

Dressed as a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day, Dave Schrandt, director of student services for admissions, attendance and transfers, announces the grand prize of an HP laptop computer to Cook Middle School eighth-grade student Kirsten Lloyd during the grand finale of the event in the Berry Center theater.
Dressed as a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day, Dave Schrandt, director of student services for admissions, attendance and transfers, announces the grand prize of an HP laptop computer to Cook Middle School eighth-grade student Kirsten Lloyd during the grand finale of the event in the Berry Center theater. 

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