Students Blend Energy and Learning in Fifth Year of TAP Camp

Cypress, TX (March 21, 2016) Approximately 200 CFISD students came together for a fun and motivational experience in the fifth annual TAP (Teamwork – Ambition – Perseverance) Camp, held March 15-18 during spring break at the Berry Center.

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.

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CFISD math coaches Sara Peterson and Jane’t Johnson celebrate after Peterson won a game; Tory Hester leads a game with students

“This is our 10th year doing a spring break camp,” said Dave Schrandt, director of admissions, attendance and transfers, and homeless liaison, who explained that it was branded “TAP Camp” after community programs staff joined the effort in 2012. “It gets better every year. Because of the staff involved and the students, their energy from the grand finale on Friday propels us into the rest of the school year.”

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.

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.

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CFISD students in the “Eagles” group perform and skit; CFISD students in the “Panthers” group perfomr a skit

More than 70 applicants applied for 18 teaching slots, as educators focused on math instruction.

“We look to see what area our students need the most improvement in, and math is where we needed help,” Schrandt said. “We have an awesome math department and teachers who enjoy working with children. The one-on-one instruction helps improve their math skills.”

Jersey Village High School teacher Kevin Benjamin, a seven-year veteran in CFISD, said the TAP Camp teaching strategy was effective.

“The nice thing about it is kids have a chance to work on math and also relax. It helps them remember stuff a whole lot better because of that integration between math and exercise,” he said. “Our main goal is to make sure they pass all their tests and convince them they’re not as bad at math as some of them thought they were. By having a mixture of skills in each group, the talented math students are able to bring the others up.”

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Jennifer Bryant, a teacher at Hopper MS, assists Cook MS student Ana Vasquez; JVHS teacjer Kevin Benjamin helps students work through a math problem; Aragon MS student Jaden Patrick throws a ball during a game of “Nuke’em”

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

“Honestly, when I first heard about it I was like, ‘Ahh, I’ve got to wake up early,’” said Rasheed Seals, Cypress Ridge High School freshman. “But when you get here and see kids your age having a good time, it’s all right.”

Seals won an 8-inch tablet courtesy of NWN Corporation during a prize giveaway on March 15. The generosity of many CFISD business partners, who donated food, prizes and activities, helped make TAP Camp a success:

  • Anonymous donations;
  • Bahama Buck’s;
  • Calvary Community Church;
  • Copperfield Church;
  • El Pollo Loco of Copperfield;
  • First Baptist Church of Houston;
  • Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers;
  • HEB;
  • Jason’s Deli;
  • Jolie Salon;
  • Kona Ice;
  • NWN Corporation;
  • Orange Leaf;
  • Papa John’s Pizza;
  • PDQ;
  • Peter Piper Pizza;
  • Raising Cane’s;
  • Romero’s;
  • Say Ahhh! Pediatric Dentistry;
  • Smashburger;
  • Texas Roadhouse;
  • Whataburger; and
  • Zaxby’s.

The total donations throughout the week were valued at more than $21,000.

“Thank you so much to the incredible partners, sponsors and anonymous donors who made TAP Camp a memorable success for hundreds of students and staff,” said Leslie Francis, director of marketing and business relations. “Their support helped reinforce the teamwork, ambition and perseverance that the camp is named after.”

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Dave Schrandt awards Cypress Ridge HS freshman Rasheed Seals with a tablet; Fay Kirby, a teacher at ALC-West, assists a student


Courtesy of the District