COMMUNITY MATH ACADEMY HISTORY
COMMUNITY MATH ACADEMY
The Community Math Academy (CMA) is a 501©3 organization based in Cleveland County, Shelby, North Carolina. The purpose of this grassroots organization is to help students develop positive feelings toward math, understand math concepts and improve their math skills. Their purpose is accomplished by “Advancing Student Learning through Community Engagement.”
Founded in 2008 by concerned yet visionary members of the business community and galvanized by the involvement of key leaders of the Faith Community. Over the past thirteen years the CMA has served more than 2000 Cleveland County students ranging from rising 3rd graders to rising 8th graders. The initiative was born from a desire to improve classroom performance, perform at grade level on the End of Grade Test Scores and support the Close the Gap Initiative for Cleveland County students.
The CMA is held for three weeks during the summer and is staffed by certified teachers and principals. Students selected are those in which Cleveland County School staff, not CMA, determines are struggling with math, as well as, could benefit from advanced math opportunities. These children are a very diverse group, and to date 87.1%-90% are from families that participate in the free and reduced lunch program, and some are considered homeless. The CMA regards these students as scholars, and coupled with family building sessions with their parents they empower them to take charge in these students’ educational lives, as the Academy is based on engagement and holds high expectations for them. Since its beginning an additional week for students to participate in enrichment camps is held at Cleveland Community College and Cleveland Early College High School. These camps include Robotics, Science and Physics and Advanced Math. Parents are supportive and take an active role in the participation of their children during the weeks of enrichment camps.
With assistance from local Cleveland County farmers Cleveland County Farmers Market, 5th and 6th graders create a “mock market” with a given budget. These students purchase items, assemble baskets, and deliver them to food distribution centers within the county as a “giving back to the community” effort. This program teaches children about budgeting, buying in quantity, and assigning a dollar value to what they buy. They also collect canned goods as a part of their own food drive and in 2019 collected more than 1500 cans to distribute to areas in need throughout Cleveland County.
The success of the Community Math Academy has been astounding as the data shows that these students on average after attending the Academy., return to the classroom and are successful. Attendance averages 95-98 percent. As a strong supporter and participant of the Close the Gap Initiative, the Academy consists of over 80 volunteers. Day to day mentoring is performed by our STUDENT FELLOWS LEADERSHIP Program by high school and college students. There are faith-based donated vans for transportation, parent coordinators, principals and counselors, as well as law enforcement at each site, although there have been no discipline problems at the Academy to date. The students are served breakfast and lunch that is partially supplied from the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
Currently, there are six sites serving our BRIGHT SCHOLARS, S.M.A.R.T and STEP AHEAD Programs. We are excited about our fourth (4th) SIGNATURE Program that began in 2020, HIGH RISERS serving rising 3rd,4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Due to COVID19, The HIGH RISERS Program began virtually.
The Community Math Academy is changing the lives of so many children in Cleveland County. It is truly advancing students learning through community engagement. Many partnerships have been formed through this initiative. Through commitment and dedication to education, The Community Math Academy inspires students as well as everyone involved to reach for success, be creative, and to take every opportunity available to build their minds.
We instill in our students the I AM!!! I CAN!!! I WILL!!!! Spirit!