Day #31 Inspiration: Small Start, Big Impact

In 1999, the Upper Room opened its doors at St. Louis Church for our first Summer Academic Camp.  The curriculum for this program had been suggested from a focus group of single mothers, who are the prime head of household in the neighborhoods we serve.  They knew their children could not read, and set out to change that.  The Upper Room had space for 90 students, but 250 students signed-up for the program the first year, so we knew there was a need within the community.
This summer, the Upper Room is serving almost 3,000 students at 25 locations. Our program is free of cost to the families and runs from 7:30 am – 6 pm, Monday – Friday. The primary focus of the morning is reading. Each class is lead by a certified teacher, with the help of volunteer tutors. After students are fed a nutritious meal, they are exposed to a group math lesson, and then on to the afternoon fun! More about the afternoon activities will be shared in tomorrow’s spotlight! 


Day #30 Extra Challenge: HS Student Motivation

A challenge we have faced in the past years of our “Earn & Learn” program is in keeping the high school students motivated to work together as a team, and confident in their ability to succeed individually. The Pryor Center for Leadership Development provides us with the staff and curriculum that promotes an environment of hard work and team building. The students also have the chance to visit William Jewell College once a week to participate in the Tucker Leadership Lab activities.

Photo 2 - 7.01

Day #30 Inspiration: Earn & Learn

The Upper Room Summer Academic Camp is an eight week program for students entering the 1st-8th grades. The primary focus is on reading, lead by certified teachers and volunteer tutors. Hogan Elementary is the program’s third-largest site and hosts students in the 1st-5th grades. In addition to bringing in many volunteers for one-on-one tutoring, Hogan is the site of The Upper Room’s “Earn and Learn” Program.
“Earn and Learn” is a program in which a group of 15 high school sophomores are paid to work with the Hogan students in the morning, tutoring them one-on-one as well as acting as aids for the Hogan teachers. In the afternoons, the high schoolers have their own classes centered on leadership and career readiness lead by William Jewell College’s internationally renowned Pryor Center for Leadership Development. The mix of the “Earn and Learn” high schoolers and regular volunteers at Hogan provides plenty of opportunities to the students for one-on-one tutoring. This brings the students personalized instruction they may not be able to attain during the school year.

Day #29 Idea: Upper Room Summer School

The Upper Room is a non-profit organization that provides high quality out-of-school education programs for children in the urban core of Kansas City, MO. Since our inception in 1999, we have recognized the challenge with some of our middle school students who are achieving above grade level to ensure they are not bored in the classroom. In order to find a solution for these students, the High School Prep program was created. High School Prep is working to challenge these middle schoolers and prepare them for high school. The students who are chosen for the program are advanced readers and need more academic rigor in the classroom. At High School Prep, students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades focus on english and math skills. Two Rockhurst High School teachers instruct the courses and are assisted by Rockhurst students.