ACES helps inner-city fourth- through eighth-grade students conquer the issue of the fourth-grade slump. This slump can last through eighth grade and is recognized throughout education as a major contributor to the achievement gap. Therefore, it is critical that effective after-school academic programs with caring adult tutors/mentors for fourth through eighth graders are available. “The fourth-grade slump can be prevented or alleviated by educators who are genuinely caring, highly competent, and deeply responsive to children’s learning strengths and needs” (Sanacore & Palumbo, 2009).
The core elements that ACES utilizes to help fourth- through eighth-grade students overcome the fourth-grade slump are:
- Dedicated in-school reading and vocabulary time.
- Involving families in their ACES students’ education and lives via family nights, regular phone contact, and home visits.
- A 1:4 adult:student ratio that enhances impact by providing small-group and one-on-one tutoring and mentoring relationships.
- Engaging curriculum that meets states standards.
ACES runs four days per week October through May. All students attend ACES two days per week. Students who attend ACES two days a week for the entire after-school year receive approximately 125 hours of direct impact per year.