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.

For the past three summers Summer CUBS has been a a full day program (8-2) that runs concurrently with the already existing Worcester Public School half-day summer school program at Woodland. During this time, students have been grouped by age, rotating between skill areas and activities that aim to reinforce and retain gains from the academic year.

Summer CUBS staff currently includes two  WPS educators, 2 stipended Clark University undergraduate interns and 2 stipended youth interns from nearby University Park Campus School. The program is designed and delivered 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. Woodland Academy Principal, Ms. Patty Padilla and Assistant Principal, Ms. Suzanna Resendes are also critical partners.

This summer, 2020, we are facing some new challenges. Students have been home, trying to access academic material as best they can, since March. Parents, guardians, caregivers are stressed. Kids are stressed. Teachers are stressed. Principals are stressed. Now, more than ever, WPS students need  to be both seen and heard. We are doing our very best to develop and implement a remote learning program that will encourage participation, meet the social-emotional needs of students and deliver academic results. Some anticipated additions to the program, including a third WPS educator who would oversee an older group (entering 5th or 6th grade) of Woodland students in a robotics lab, are currently on hold, as is a collaboration with the Eric Carle museum. We look forward to adding them next year along with the return of a stipended UCC college intern.


  1. 75% or more 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. Engagement with students and parents 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 the same percentage prevailed during year 3. By comparison, most Woodland students have historically lost on average three levels over the summer period.

How You Can Help

During the past few years many talented and dedicated youth and adults, primarily from UCC churches, have spent countless hours as mentors at Summer CUBS. Some might argue that Woodland students benefit most from volunteers and mentors who come from their neighborhood. Others…. that the community bridging of mentors with different life experiences is equally impacting. That is why, between interns and volunteers, we try to offer both.

This year we will be asking former volunteer mentors to participate via pre-recorded videos, just saying hi or sharing a hobby or a skill. The kids in the program will be receiving lots of fun and engaging supplies in support of the program objectives. We would like to offer something similar to their adult caregivers, letting them know how much we appreciate their commitment to their kids’ learning and offering them some stress relief. To this end we have created a Target Registry. Please take a look and if you are able, order some items to be sent to WAMS. We will also be including $10 Dunkin Donuts gift cards. Again, if you are able, please send a /some card(s) to WAMS with a note indicating Summer CUBS Caregiver Bag as the recipient.

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.