Case Study: FD Moon Summer STEAM Academy
The Planning Department at the City of Oklahoma City knew change needed to come to the Culbertson’s East Highland neighborhood on the City’s northeast side. Many homes were deteriorating or shuttered. Sidewalks were in disrepair and city parks mostly unused. Public safety was a serious concern. City planners and neighborhood stakeholders began engaging the usual arsenal of tactics that can help turn a neighborhood around. Using Community Development Block Grant funds, they worked on plans for new sidewalks, affordable housing, and improvements to parks. However, they knew that above all, the best way to strengthen this neighborhood was to strengthen the school. At the heart of the community is Moon Academy, a Pre-K through 6th grade elementary school at 13th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Children attending Moon Academy face unenviable challenges in attaining a good education.
• The school was designated with a School Improvement Grant, but little progress was noticed.
• The State Department of Education ranked Moon as an “F” school for the 2012-13 school year. Enrollment declined and the faculty felt isolated and devalued.
• Misaligned school district populations: with boundaries in disarray, Moon students were not in a walkable situation from home to school.
• Safety: Public safety issues and a lack of sidewalks also hinder walkability of students in the area.
The City of Oklahoma City approached the Oklahoma Afterschool Network to provide planning, community engagement and implementation of a summer academy to begin in June of 2014 and an afterschool program for the 2014/2015 school year.