Students at Clear Creek Intermediate don’t wait for the start of school to start learning and they don’t stop with the sound of the bell at the end of each school day.
That’s because, before school each day, from 7:45-8:45 a.m. and after school from 4-6 p.m., four days a week, is the Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE) Program. This program has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Harris County Department of Education that the school was awarded in August.
This is the first year for Clear Creek Intermediate to have the ACE Program, which began September 6 and at one point had more than 200 enrollees, said Heidi Cisneros, the ACE program coordinator at Clear Creek Intermediate.
Today, the program which started with only eight students, now averages about 40 to 60 students a day who all take part in a variety of different hands-on enrichment activities that are designed to reinforce and complement each students’ academic programs.
The overall goal of the ACE Program is to have all students graduate from high school prepared for college and the workforce. To achieve this goal, ACE’s objectives are to improve academic performance, attendance, behavior, promotion rates and graduation rates.
ACE is open to any student who attends Clear Creek Intermediate, Cisneros said. There are some who are regulars and others who may come once every few weeks.
Students are offered educational, fun and creative activities such as arts and crafts, technology applications, tutorials and academic support, gym activities such as pick-up basketball, Kid Fit and dodge ball, and college and career readiness.
Each day, students can decide to either participate in two classes over the two-hour period or one the entire time.
“This program is designed to not only help students who may be struggling, but to also help keep them busy after school,” Cisneros said.
Students get the opportunity to learn about and try new skills that otherwise, they may never be exposed to. Skills like cooking, drama, robotics, fencing, step dance and archaeology.
Students in the program’s cooking class have even had the chance to help prepare a pancake breakfast for their classmates and those focusing on learning more about science may get the chance to be a part of their very own archaeological dig.
But the program won’t stop there. Already, Cisneros is looking for ways to continue better serving the campus’ student population. One thing she’s already considering is offering English as a Second Language classes.
“I want to be able to help them improve their English skills,” she said.
But more than anything, Cisneros hopes the ACE program continues to grow and serve as a beneficial asset to Clear Creek Intermediate’s students.
"Every child is different," Cisneros said. "We're excited to be able to give them the new opportunities and support they deserve."