When there’s teamwork, children and youth can achieve excellence. For the last few years, Excellence Through Opportunity has shown us the truth of this affirmation through actions and results. Today, we’ll tell you all about them!
Excellence Through Opportunity (ETO) is an engaging and academically enriching after-school program founded by Carletta Fellows, a former teacher. Recognizing that students are often “kinesthetic and tactile learners,” Fellows wanted to offer them something very hands-on. As you’ll see below, ETO offers different programs that fit the diverse needs of their students and connect them to industries in which they can put their skills into practice.
“The academic component is essential, focusing on students who may require remediation or acceleration in subjects such as math, literacy, and language development,” said Fellows during our interview. As part of the 21st Century Program, which enables organizations to operate after-school programs in public schools, Excellence Through Opportunity partnered with the Theodore Roosevelt High School. ETO goes beyond the grant requirements to ensure that students receive the services needed for their after-school activities.
Partnerships for After-School Programs
For Excellence Through Opportunity (ETO), establishing valuable partnerships and connections with local organizations is pivotal for their programs. Collaborations are a great way to enrich and enhance opportunities for students. One of their very first partnerships was with the Division of Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning (WDLL) from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), which facilitates their Career Pathways program aimed at students from 9th to 12th grade.
Career Pathways is designed to prepare students for various industries and create a personalized plan for their careers. Offered by UDC, the program allows students to receive certifications, particularly in customer service, through a 50-hour course. Upon completing the program, students receive a certification that holds value across different industries. To help students discover their areas of interest, they first take a career test, the Strong Interest Inventory. Based on the results, they develop a career pathway. Additionally, they participate in mock interviews throughout the year and learn how to draft their resumes.
Another star program is the Bike Tech program, offered in partnership with DC Bike Academy. In this program, students have a blast building, assembling, and repairing bikes, all while having the opportunity to earn community service hours. It’s important to highlight that all bikes go through a comprehensive quality check to ensure that the repaired bikes are safe for riding.
Excellence Through Opportunity also provides financial literacy education, where students and parents learn essential money management skills thanks to Protect Save and Grow (PSG). If kids and parents want help achieving their aspirations, Verve Consultants, Inc. programs are suited for them. If students are interested in drones and tech, Excellence Through Opportunity is launching a new program in collaboration with Flying Classroom called the Drone Program.
Partnership with AfterSchool HQ
Not all partnerships are to facilitate programs; some, like ETO’s partnership with AfterSchool HQ, focus on streamlining administrative processes. The founder of ETO, Carletta Fellows, got the opportunity to hear about AfterSchool HQ at a conference and was impressed with its capabilities. “There’s a lot of data that we have to deal with, specifically for high school students,” explained Fellows before addressing a long list of attendance data—by the day, by the program, by the month, by the quarter, and so on. Each is crucial for ETO’s quarterly and end-of-the-year reports, as well as for the end of the grant cycle. Thanks to the implementation of AfterSchool HQ, they have significantly improved their ability to collect and access the required data.
Surveys are another valuable tool frequently used by Excellence Through Opportunity. Carletta Fellows emphasizes the importance of feedback, stating, “We place a strong emphasis on feedback and strive to incorporate their thoughts and ideas into our programs.” Every action taken by ETO aligns with their commitment to encouraging positive development. ETO also demonstrates this with their participation in the School Year Internship Program (SYIP). Through this program ETO hires students who, among other tasks, learn how to operate AfterSchool HQ, which includes managing attendance records and inventory.
ETO’s Recent Success Story
Success can be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively through data provided by AfterSchool HQ and the daily interaction with students. Carletta Fellows shared an inspiring success story from a previous summer program involving a student called Dustin. When Dustin initially joined the program, he was quite reserved and didn’t talk much. To boost his confidence, the ETO team decided to guide him through the learning process of building a bike. Funny enough, he didn’t know how to ride a bike, so the challenge was double. By the end of the program, Dustin was riding happily and even had a new goal ahead of him—teaching his sister.
Success stories aren’t limited to summer camps; they also happen in after-school activities. “Those who attend our program show improvements in their academics. We have noticed this because they are coming to school more consistently.” Carletta Fellows went on to highlight that socio-emotional growth is also seen, which often translates into heightened confidence and a more positive attitude.
As we can see, Excellence Through Opportunity empowers students through their diverse programs and valuable partnerships. If this story resonates with you and you’re seeking to streamline your processes, we can help support your mission. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these students and help them achieve their full potential.