CAMP UNAKITE BUILDS CLASSROOM SUCCESS
by Michael Rider
Camp Unakite is a grant-funded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational opportunity for rising third through eighth-grade students in Madison County and is co-sponsored by the Madison County Public Schools and the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF).
Students explore their natural world through STEM activities during a summer camp held at Graves Mountain Lodge. These activities include animal studies, mineral understanding, soil investigations, water cleanliness and movement, volcanic eruptions, and others.
“Camp Unakite has made a significant difference in the lives of young people in Madison. MCEF has supported Unakite for over four years. In partnership with the Madison Schools and Graves Mountain Lodge, it has provided a learning and camping experience for students that has awakened new interest in learning and confidence in their own abilities,” said Barbara Kres Beach, MCEF president.
Quantitative data for the 2014-15 school year, developed by Superintendent Matt Eberhardt, were compared to the data for the 2015-2016 school year to assess the impact of Camp Unakite. The study group consisted of sixty-seven students in grades three through seven attending Camp Unakite in the summer of 2015. Nineteen students in grades seven through eight attended in the summer of 2016.
The assessment results which have translated into the classroom are impressive:
GRADES 3-6 Participants
47.6% improved in attendance
14.3% improved in behavior
13.6% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics
65.2% of Unakite students earned a Reading letter grade of B or better in the third grade year
78.9% of Unakite students earned a Mathematics letter grade of B or better in the third grade year
GRADES 7-8 Participants
31.6% improved in attendance
42.1% improved in behavior
21.1% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics
The Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) has supported Camp Unakite since its inception. It has won a line item in the MCEF budget because we believe strongly that the goals and results of the program merit our commitment.
What pays the bills for this outstanding program? Approximately half of the costs are borne by the Madison County Public Schools. The other half comes from monies raised by the MCEF.
The MCEF funds supporting Unakite are raised at the annual March Madness fundraiser. Your attendance at March Madness helps tip the scales in favor of this learning-by-camping experience.
Join your friends and neighbors on March 18. Come to MARCH MADNESS at Graves Mountain Lodge’s picnic pavilion starting at 4pm. Tickets are available online at www.madisonedfoundation.org or by calling Carty Yowell, March Madness chairperson, at 757-615-0626. Your donation and participation in March Madness makes Camp Unakite possible for hundreds of school children. Because of citizen commitment, Unakite makes a difference!