Message from our Executive Director
It is with great pleasure that I present the Dream Center Academy’s 2022-23 Annual Report. Our student engagement and our community support have resulted in our most outstanding year thus far.
Since opening our doors in July 2017 to our first class of 33 students, I am happy to announce that we are currently entering our 7th year of programming and our first class of college-career-ready students will be graduating in May 2024. During our first six years, DCA has served more than then 150 students, providing them with a year-round academic enrichment program that prepares them for college and career and empowers them to own their education, develop their character, and discover their best selves.
Our work is proving to make a measurable difference as noted year after year in our student data. I am pleased to report that in 2022-23, more than 90% of DCA students met school attendance expectations and demonstrated positive behavior in school. 78% of DCA students had a grade point average of 2.0 or above, and 55% of DCA students were on Honor Roll. Recognizing the profound impact we are having on our students inspires us to press on and do even more.
As the saying goes, it takes “a village to raise a child.”Dream Center Academy is grateful for the 34 caring individuals who serve in our program and for the over 140 passionate individuals, corporations, and foundations who support our program. You are making our work happen! Together, we are building generations of college- and career-ready graduates who will be the future changemakers of our community.
Our Mission and Vision
Dream Center Academy is an educational nonprofit that provides out-of-school time programming to an underserved population of students- our teens. Our program is strategically designed to serve and support students along their journey from 6th-grade to high-school graduation.
The mission of Dream Center Academy is to empower students in the Gaston County Schools to own their education by developing the academic and social skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.
The vision of Dream Center Academy is to build generations of students who become college-career-ready graduates and productive citizens of our community.
Our Long Term Goals
We seek to achieve this vision by providing a high-quality academic enrichment program to ensure our students do the following:
- Maintain or improve their academic, attendance, and behavior performance in middle and highschool.
- Transition on-time and on-target from middle school to high school.
- Graduate from high school and are college or career ready.
- Enter a college or career of their choice.
- Become gainfully employed.
- Become active, productive members of our community.
- Lead change in our community.
Whom We Served in 2022-23
- People of Color 86%
- Families with Financial Need 78%
- Potential First-generation College Graduates 83%
- Families with Limited Language Proficiency 34%
Our Program Accomplishments
In 2022-23, DCA Students participated in the following academic enrichment activities:
5 Weeks of Summer Classes + 32 Weeks of After-school Programming to provide a year-round academic enrichment program for students.
- 148 Character Development Sessions – To strengthen students’ social and emotional development.
- 124 Academic Sessions – To strengthen students’ academic skills and prepare them for advanced classes.
- 104 Enrichment Sessions – To promote critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and make learning more
- meaningful, valuable, and rewarding.
- 12 Field Trips – To broaden students’ experiences and expose them to worlds outside their own.
- 6 College Tours – To provide students with a first-hand view of college, build their aspirations for higher education, and inspire planning for their academic futures.
- 6 Service Projects – To develop students’ increased sense of civic responsibility.
- 4 Community Tours – To expose students to what’s great about Gaston County!
- 15 College-Career Development Planning Sessions – To promote students’ college and career beliefs, self-efficacy, and graduation rates.
- 47 Job Shadowing & Internship Opportunities – To allow students to build their career competencies and career-readiness skills.
Our Program’s Impact
DCA’s program is designed to influence student performance in a number of ways focused on improved attitudes toward school and higher aspirations. To this end, we have established 6 measures we use to evaluate our program’s effectiveness and our students’ success.
- Student Engagement in the DCA Program will demonstrate a positive impact on students’ attitudes toward school.
- Student School Attendance will increase and tardiness rates will decrease to promote a positive impact on student school performance.
- Students’ Social Development/Behavior will demonstrate they exert control over their own motivation, behavior, and social environment.
- Student Academic Performance will indicate students are performing on grade level or above in their courses, enrolled in Advanced Placement or CTE classes, and performing well on standardized tests.
- Student Graduation Performance will show they graduated on time and ready for college and career.
- Student Post-Graduation Performance will indicate they are engaged in their college or career opportunities and are on track for gainful employment.
2022-23 Student Performance Results
- 78% of DCA students had a GPA of 2.0 (C) or higher.
- 55% of DCA students made the Honor Roll.
- Over 90% DCA students met attendance requirements and demonstrated positive behavior in school.
- 2 College Board National Recognition Program Award Winners recognized for their academic achievements in school and outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.
Our Financial Progress
In July 2017, DCA opened and began offering out-of-school time programming to our first class of rising 6th-grade students. Each year, we have grown our program by adding a new class of 6th-grade students and expanding our programming to the next grade level.
As our program has grown each year, our budget has grown accordingly, growing from $130,000 in 2017-18 to $668,613 in 2022-23.
Thanks to the growing support of our Gaston community, DCA was successful in securing $764,397 to support our 2022-23 program.
DCA is grateful to the following individuals, foundations, and businesses for your outstanding support in 2022-23.
Our Board of Directors
- Chair: Jennie Stultz,
- Former Mayor of Gastonia
- Vice Chair: Reeves McGlohon
- , Former Superintendent of Gaston County Schools
- Secretary: Marty Starnes,
- Former Principal and Director in Gaston County Schools
- Treasurer: Luke Upchurch,
- Chief Development Officer – Gaston College
- Pastor Dennis Boyce, Pastor of First Assembly of God Church
- Nancy Brogdon, Assistant Chief of Gastonia Police Department
- Tonia Broome , Dean of Arts & Sciences Division at Gaston College
- Tammy Chowdhury, Co-founder of Remembering Austin Foundation
- Jennifer Davis, Diversity Consultant
- Reverend Rodney Freeman , Pastor of Mount Zion Restoration Church
- Angela Karchmer , Director of Gaston County Social Services
- David Masters, Business Owner – STAT Services
- Laurel Morris , Former Director of Gaston County Library
- Torben Ross, Principal of Gaston County School
- Debbie Windley , Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations – Belmont Abbey College,Owner, Windmork Consulting
Board Members joining us in 2023:
- Amy Boyd
- Clarence Fisher
- Tony Powell
- Barbara Yarbrough
Thank you to our 130 Sponsors who participate in our Sponsor A Scholar Program and others who give to us annually through the Community Run and other events.
Thank you to our major Donors!
- Alliance Bank & Trust
- Bedazzled Bridal & Formal Inc
- Burlan Manufacturing -Stephen CornwellFoundation
- Tracy and Cynthia Burgess
- Caromont Health Foundation
- City Church
- Coldwell Banker Commercial MECA- Eric Clay
- David Ratchford Family
- David & Sonoko Barnrd
- The Efird Family
- First Assembly of God Church
- The First Gaston Foundation
- Mr. and Mrs. Fredrick Kessell
- Locke & Mary Robin Bell
- Next Gen Fund
- The Pearson Family
- The Ralph S Robinson Family Foundation
- Tindol Ford