Dallas City of Learning Partners: Bishop’s Camp

Established: 1995 in Dallas

About: Bishop’s Camp goal is simple yet paramount – give children a safe place to be during the summer. For more than two decades, Bishop’s Camp has grown to enrich the lives of 120 at-risk, East Dallas youth over a seven-week camp centered on academics, art, enrichment, and faith. Eliminating the “summer slide” is always top of mind at Bishop’s Camp. They strive to ensure that students return to school in the fall with positive attitudes, academic gains, and increased confidence. Bishop’s Camp hires qualified teachers for each age group, and relies on a trained flock of youth counselors to assist teachers and support children. New in 2016: Youth leadership development and parental engagement programs to help students continue to reverse summer learning loss at home, long after the camp’s completion.

Why is Summer Learning so Important? 

“Summer learning is important to reduce summer learning loss,” says Jessica Bell, Program Director, Bishop’s Camp. “This is especially high amongst students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. According to summerlearning.org, ‘Every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading [… while] most lose about two months of math skills during the summer.’ Bishop’s Camp offers a seven-week literacy, math, and arts program that aims to maintain or improve the campers’ academic skills. By reducing the summer learning loss, the academic achievement gap will decrease and the rate of high school drop-outs can reduce as well.”

Why Partner with Dallas City of Learning?

“Like Bishop’s Camp, Dallas City of Learning offers enriching summer programming that exposes Dallas youth to unique opportunities throughout the Metroplex and online,” says Brendan Alexander, Program Manager, Aberg Center for Literacy. “Bishop’s Camp believes that it is through such opportunities that at-risk youth can overcome the ‘summer slide,’ reduce the learning gap, and become curious and devoted life-long learners.

How Does Your Participation In Dallas City Of Learning Benefit Bishop’s Camp Kids?

“Last year Bishop’s Camp utilized DCoL as a core camp component, assigning digital badges for camp accomplishments, and using the multitude of online XPs as the centerpiece of the student’s computer lab time, where they experienced content creation, coding, and educational gaming,” says Alexander. “Bishop’s Camp and DCoL also teamed up to allow our 7th and 8th graders the opportunity to attend Geek Squad Academy, a one-day tech camp for kids. Such positive interactions with technology are crucial to reducing the ‘digital divide’ by increasing access, improving understanding, and fostering interest in technology among youth from low-income families. This year, Bishop’s Camp looks forward to our continued partnership with DCoL, using its digital XP playlists feature in computer lab, and hosting the Tech Van for our 5th-8th grade students!”

What Is Your Vision And Passion For The Future Of Education?

“Our vision and passion at Bishop’s Camp for the future of education is to teach the child as a whole,” says Bell. “One way this vision is being met is through the implementation of social-emotional teaching strategies. We want our youth to not only be prepared for their upcoming school year, but to become life-long learners who are able to set goals, problem solve, and are equipped with coping skills. Our curriculum also focuses on differentiated instruction, integration of technology, hands-on learning, and guest presenters. Through assessments we are able to create meaningful activities that scaffold to the youth’s needs. All of our youth have access to technology with scheduled time in our computer lab and off-site technology being brought to the camp. The most impactful learning takes place through hands-on opportunities to problem solve. To promote higher order thinking skills, we believe in continuously engaging the youth in thought provoking activities and exposure to guest presenters or off-site learning. Our main vision and passion for the future of education at Bishop’s Camp is to better the youth as a whole through exposure to opportunities they may not otherwise have.”

— Mario Tarradell