Who We Are
As a staff, we come from a wide variety of backgrounds which in turn creates a diverse environment and experience for our students, volunteers, and staff. We all have different college degrees, different personalities, different gifts and talents, but we all share the most important thing: a passion and pursuit for children and youth to become all that they can be. We desire students to be successful, not just in academics, but also in being a good friend, in managing emotions and behavior, in resolving conflicts, and in having a healthy, positive self-esteem – knowing that they are valued and cared for.
Behavior management techniques at Kaleidoscope focus on positive attitudes and methods of working with students to find mutual solutions to behavior problems. Our multicultural awareness training is currently specifically geared towards proper behavior towards East African students and their families. Ongoing tutors are regularly supervised by licensed teachers who comment on areas of strength and growth. Additional trainings are often scheduled as a need becomes recognized among the staff. All staff, whether new or ongoing, must go through an annual training week held every June.
“I have seen many positive changes in the children, such as, improved social and academic skills. It’s exciting to see the kids grow up, build positive values, and develop into good citizens.”
Karen Ploetz, Kaleidoscope Place Board Member (past) and Volunteer
Who We Serve
At Kaleidoscope Place we pride ourselves in working with students and families that come from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Through the years we have worked with students who are african american, caucasion, native american, somali, hmong, kenyan, korean, nigerian. As you can see Kaleidoscope has a rich heritage and continues that pursuit today. Even though our program fees are highly affordable, we will work with the families to ensure that every child has the opportunity to experience the positive, successful, and safe environment that Kaleidoscope offers.
What We Do
Kaleidoscope is an organization that has an outstanding track record in increasing student achievement, due in large part to the design of the program. From the minute they walk in the door, students are placed in an environment which gives them the greatest odds of success. One primary reason is an excellent ratio of students to adults (staff and volunteers), which equates to a 5:1 ratio. Kaleidoscope is proud of these ratios and the success it allows us to have with students. It forms the basis for many of our most important instructional strategies. Kaleidoscope’s program is based around four key concepts.
- One-to-one assistance. Research has shown over and over that the more individualized attention a student can receive, the greater their success typically is. This one-on-one time is helpful to the student because they receive individualized instruction based on assessed needs.
- Small Group instruction. Outside of the one-on-one tutoring that students receive, the majority of instruction is delivered in a small group setting designed to maximize learning. Lessons are taught to small groups which are formed around ability levels. As with one-to-one instruction, small group instruction has often led to increased achievement for students.
- Individual exploration/Free Choice. The third component of Kaleidoscope’s instructional strategy is individual exploration and free choice. When given a choice in assignment or project, students often show increased engagement and achievement. While at Kaleidoscope students are encouraged to pursue activities which develop their skills and satisfy their own interests. While individual exploration does not constitute even close to the majority of programming, it is an important component that allows students to take some degree of control over their own learning.
- Assessment and Data driven instruction. Kaleidoscope takes assessment seriously, and uses the assessment data gathered to better inform our instruction. Kaleidoscope students will take no fewer than five assessments during the course of the school year, and will typically take many more short assessments to demonstrate competency in Minnesota academic standards. Kaleidoscope teachers design their lesson plans around the needs of the students, as determined by assessment.
Kaleidoscope Place utilizes the Development Studies Center’s Afterschool KidzLit and Kidz Math curriculum for literacy and math activities during their school year and summer programs. KidzLit increases young people’s motivation to read and builds their literacy skills. At the same time, it develops core values of helpfulness, fairness, personal responsibility, and respect for others. KidzMath uses cooperative games and storybook-based activities to promote mathematical understanding and social development. Students develop mathematical skills, gain confidence in their mathematical abilities, increase their enjoyment of mathematics, and improve their ability to work with others. Another core curriculum used year-round is GetReady!, an incredible resource that we use with our “Growing to College” theme that addresses all aspects of college readiness. Both curriculums are also supplemented by Teachers’ expertise and wealth of knowledge.
Kaleidoscope currently uses two different sets of assessment to measure student achievement. The first is a set of assessments designed by Minneapolis Public Schools to measure achievement in out-of-school programs. It consists of a reading and comprehension assessment as well as a math assessment. In addition to the Minneapolis Public Schools assessments, Kaleidoscope employs portions of the Jerry L. Johns Basic Reading Inventory (BRI). This one on one assessment provides our teachers with a clear picture of where are students are at in their reading fluency. This assessment, which can be done with relative ease and speed, paints an accurate picture of a student’s comprehension, alphabetics, and fluency
Students in our After School Kids program have a wide variety of healthy and enriching experiences that make them better people. In addition to academics, the following areas are addressed as they arise:
Self Esteem: We are here to create a healthy, caring, loving relationship with every student where the student feels and knows that they are valued and they feel valued. If a student doesn’t feel valued, has low self-esteem
Conflict Resolution: We are here to give students the tools and resources they need to work through conflicts in healthy ways, instead of punching, kicking, name calling, shutting down, and/or running away from them. We are here to help create a safe place where students can express what they are feeling inside and not be put down for expressing it. We walk students who have a conflict, through the process of understanding what happened, what could have been done differently, and how to handle the situation in the future.
Social Skills: We are here to teach students how to interact in healthy ways with other students, so they can develop healthy relationships with their peers.
Why We Do It
Kaleidoscope Place was started in 1971 as a summer program with the purpose of addressing the learning gap that occurs during the summer months. This purpose has not changed in over four decades, and in the mid nineties our program was expanded to include an after school program.