Open Doors Academy (ODA) is a comprehensive learning program that works closely with schools to provide extensive year-round, out-of-school learning; with a structured daily curriculum that is developed to meet Ohio Department of Education’s Core Academic Standards.
Open Doors Academy is a Greater Cleveland-based, non-profit organization committed to ending the cycle of poverty through educational support systems for middle and high school students. We create ambassadors of change who make a positive influence in the Cleveland community and beyond.
ODA was established in 2002 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church as an after-school, drop-in program for youth living in high-risk environments in Cleveland Heights. ODA now has the resources and capacity to serve hundreds of middle and high school youth and their parents, guardians, and siblings.
At the core of ODA’s program is building a safe haven filled with support, creating a sense of community, and fostering kids’ confidence. ODA builds this environment by engaging parents, teachers, and other community partners.
Our scholars participate in project-based learning experiences such as core enrichment programs and academic tutoring, full-day summer camps, and service-learning trips – all of which are built around their developmental needs.
Elementary School Summer Reading Camp
Through a joint partnership with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (the origin of ODA), ODA and St. Paul’s have joined forces to offer a 4-week summer reading and literacy development camp that serves the younger sibling of ODA scholars. This camp is designed for rising 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who’s older siblings are enrolled in ODA. The camp focuses on developing critical literacy skills including reading comprehension, vocabulary, composition, and fluency. The weekly themed camp combines large and small group reading opportunities, along with individual reading with a mentor.
By providing services to the younger siblings of our scholars, we eliminate a barrier for middle school scholars to attend ODA Summer Camp as they are often responsible for overseeing their younger siblings during the summer when their parents are at work. In addition to offering valuable enrichment programming to a new population, the camp also serves as an introduction for the younger siblings to ODA. Summer reading camp runs Monday thru Friday, from 7:30am to 5pm for four-weeks.
ODA’s model begins by engaging kids in grades 5 through 8. We provide them with a safe environment after school to focus on completing homework, exploring their interests, and exposing them to opportunities that otherwise might not be available to them. During these after-school hours, our middle school scholars address academic issues, develop soft skills, and build healthy relationships with peers. We incorporate project-based learning experiences, team-building exercises, service learning, and field trips as means to help our scholars grow.
After middle school, ODA scholars join our high school program, which prepares them for postsecondary education, career exploration, and the transition into adulthood. Programming includes individual mentoring and support, afternoon workshops to prepare for college and careers, college tours, local and national service-learning trips, and internships. The goal is to ensure scholars have the opportunity and support needed to graduate from high school and complete a postsecondary pursuit, such as college, vocational training, or joining the military.
Our postsecondary program addresses challenging transitions – such as the transition from teenager to young adult, and from high school to college. We help scholars by keeping them connected to a community of social and emotional support, coaching and mentoring them through the process of successfully completing a postsecondary option, and then entering a career pathway.
Our middle school scholars participate in eight weeks of summer camp, and we offer dozens of week-long camps focused on arts and culture, health and wellness, career exploration, and more. We hire our freshman and sophomore scholars as assistant camp counselors. And we place juniors and seniors in internships with community partners.
At Open Doors Academy we partner with parents to meet the needs of their children. Parents are children’s first teachers, and they know their children’s interests, personalities, and needs better than anyone. That is why we collaborate with them on educational and recreational activities, building a community of trust and support to meet their kids’ and families’ needs. Our monthly Parent Partnership Seminars provide the opportunity to learn how to address issues affecting their families. And our Parent Advisory Council provides feedback and ideas on how to improve programming and support for our scholars and families.