Summer CUBS is a collaboration between the Worcester Area Mission Society, Clark University’s Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice and the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) / Woodland Academy. Summer CUBS brings together current and future educators, WPS high school interns and adult and youth mentors from neighboring communities to offer interactive and individualized summer learning to elementary school students who attend Woodland Academy.

Woodland Academy is located in Main South, a low-income urban neighborhood that represents both a wide range of challenges and many possibilities.

Summer CUBS is a full day program (8-2) that runs concurrently with the already existing Worcester Public School half-day summer school program at Woodland.

Students are grouped by age and spend the day rotating between skill areas and activities that aim to reinforce and retain gains from the academic year.

Summer CUBS staff includes current WPS educators, 3 stipended college interns and 2 stipended youth interns from nearby University Park Campus School, all of whom work under the oversight of Program Director Dr. Holly Dolan, Associate Director of Practice in Education at Clark University and WAMS Vice President for Program, Mary Robbins. Adult and youth volunteer mentors (mostly from area UCC churches) provide important daily support to the program as does Woodland Academy Principal, Ms. Patty Padilla and Assistant Principal, Ms. Suzanna Resendes.


  1. 75% of students enrolled will maintain or increase their reading level as measured by The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), a standardized reading test.
  2. Students will engage in independent reading (or be read to) for 20-30 minutes daily.
  3. Feedback and guidance from Woodland Academy principal, Patty Padilla and Assistant Principal, Suzanna Resendes will indicate that this program continues to meet the community’s needs.
  4. Student attendance, daily interactions with parents at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up and feedback from from children who have participated in the program over multiple summers will indicate that this program is having a positive impact.


Summer 2019 marked year 3 of the program. We have so far served on average, 40 students per summer. Based on testing of students’ spring to fall reading level scores, 80% of the students in the program either maintained or went up in their levels during year 2, and same percentage during year 3. By comparison, most Woodland students have historically lost on average three levels over the summer period.

How You Can Help

SIGN UP HERE to be a Volunteer Mentor! In addition to the financial support listed below, we could not offer this program without the dedication and talent of the many adult and youth volunteer mentors who sign up each summer to support the Summer CUBS students and staff. You make it possible!

During Summer 2020 Summer CUBS will take place during the 4 week period of Monday July 6th through Friday July 31 (week days only). Volunteer mentors are needed over the course of two daily shifts (8:15 to 11:30 and 11:15 to 2:00). See daily schedule here. Mentors are welcome to serve for only one shift per day, or both shifts as their schedules permit.

Please consider committing to a full week where possible. Two days (or similar) per week over the course of program is also a really great option. The point being to provide some consistency over the course of the program, which is very helpful to everyone, but most especially to the kids in the program.

Youth 14 and up are welcome to volunteer without an adult, although adult mentors are also needed. Children under age 14 are welcome to volunteer with a parent or other known adult (for example an adult-age sibling, a youth leader, scout leader, etc.).

Mentors are encouraged to attend a training that we will offer prior to the start of Summer CUBS (date to be advertised soon). In addition, all mentors will receive a Mentor Handbook.

Financial Support

In addition to funding from WAMS, Summer CUBS is supported by many congregations, foundations and individuals. Contributors include the Carpenter Foundation, the Adam Institute that now funds two of the three college interns, the Arline Rayner gift to WAMS that funds our high school interns, the Worcester Arts Council and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.


  • CUBS is the acronym used at Woodland Academy
  • The Clark Adam Institute is committed to the development of locally and nationally significant models of university-school partnership, urban teacher preparation, teaching, and school cultures which empower all students, regardless of background, to attend college. The Institute integrates these different dimensions of work in various ways, primarily by working within and across partner schools to form learning communities focused on the neighborhood and its students.