A third-grader holds his coach’s cell phone to his ear with his shoulder. His hands are occupied, pencil and notebook at the ready. He knows what information he is looking for. He speaks confidently, professionally. He’s never called a business before, but he’s rehearsed this conversation, with his coaches and classmates playing the roles of store personnel.
“Can you please tell me the largest piece of plywood you sell?”
One teammate sits close in hot anticipation. He didn’t feel comfortable making the call, but in his lap lay the final designs for a sign his team hopes to create and attach permanently to the fence in front of their school. The design had gone through several edits. The team agrees now; it’s perfect. They are proud.
At a computer across the room sit a pair of sixth grade girls. Originally, they sat down to find the phone number for the hardware store. Now they’re perusing the Home Depot website, researching paint colors and prices. They hope not only to use it on their sign, but to also spruce up the antique fire call boxes around their community like they’ve seen done in more affluent neighborhoods.
This is a snapshot of a scene unfolding in DC SCORES writing classrooms across Washington, DC this spring. Our coaches are taking a backseat, offering guidance and resources, as the students implement sustainable projects of their own design to address and impact issues observed in their communities.
The students are gaining real-life experience and job readiness, sharpening academic and higher-order thinking skills, developing strong ties to their communities, and positively contributing to their schools’ climates and environments.
This is service-learning. This is DC SCORES.
The DC SCORES spring season, beginning in March, pairs soccer with service-learning. The students at each of our partner schools put their teamwork to good use by developing and implementing a project to help their community.
DC SCORES' 16th fall season has been a great success so far! This school year, we’re serving close to 800 students in 25 elementary and middle schools across the District. More students in more schools than ever before have excelled in the classroom and on the soccer field. Some of this fall’s highlights include:
As you can see, we provide a unique and dynamic after-school experience. Public schools throughout the country and especially in the District are getting a lot of media attention. We believe programs that begin after the bell rings can also bring about transformational change in students. DC SCORES’ innovative learning environment connects and motivates young people in ways the formal school day cannot yet provide.
Our vision is to provide DC SCORES for all youth and schools in Washington, DC in need of a free, engaging after-school program. All DC public school students DESERVE to be on a team, DESERVE to be heard through their writing and spoken word, and DESERVE to be valued as committed community members. Your support has allowed us to begin this year without making cuts to programming. To sustain our current program and to achieve our vision, we need you on our team. By donating to DC SCORES, you display the type of teamwork, leadership, and commitment we cultivate in our students.
This summer, DC SCORES hosted three summer camps for our poet-athletes. As one of our supporters, we would like to take the opportunity to tell you about one of them:
On a hot June afternoon, counselors and coaches pumped up the 35 elementary and middle school students at Bruce Monroe Elementary School at Park View.
“When I say ‘DC,’ you all say ‘SCORES!’ DC!”
With that introductory cheer, our six-week Soccer & Arts Summer Camp was underway. A wide range of students of various ages from different parts of the city – both DC SCORES newbies and veterans – gathered on the first day of camp to improve their soccer skills, engage their creative side in the classroom, and make new friends. Some of the camp highlights included:
• Step dancing with Step Afrika;
• Nutrition workshops with DC Central Kitchen including a guided tour of Giant Market in Columbia Heights;
• A visit to the White House for the trophy presentation of the Women’s Professional Soccer champions;
• An interactive tour of the Children’s Gallery of Black History;
• A visit from the Washington DC Knights, an organized soccer team through Street Soccer USA; and
• Performing a group poem at halftime at a Washington Freedom game.
Our summer camp participants gained valuable skills and had meaningful experiences. Studies show that the way students spend their summers is one of the biggest factors contributing to the widening education gap in the U.S., which is why participating in free summer camps can significantly improve a student’s success during the school year. With our summer camps, we were able to keep our poet-athletes across the city engaged, active and having fun – all while keeping their minds fresh and ready for the upcoming school year.
The spring season began on March 15 at all DC SCORES partner schools. During the spring, students participate in soccer two days a week, service-learning two days a week, and soccer games on Thursdays and Fridays.
In the spring, our elementary school soccer league is competitive as teams work to earn their way into the playoffs and eventually the City Cup Championship in June 5. Standings are based on game scores, but also on the sportsmanship points that each team works to earn each week. Our soccer curriculum also includes health games and lessons designed to teach students that physical fitness requires both exercise and good nutrition.
Our service-learning curriculum, Writing for the Community, takes students through the process of exploring their community and the issues that affect it. Once an issue is chosen the team researches, develops, and implements a project to tackle the issue. Each year, DC SCORES provides an overall theme for Writing for the Community. This year’s theme is “the environment.” One of the first lessons is a community walk where the students take a walk around their neighborhood and identify the positive and negative aspects of it. After the walk, they discuss what they would like to change in their community. From there, the students begin to create the project that they will work on for the rest of the semester. One DC SCORES team, for example, has challenged their entire school to collect plastic water bottles, which will be used to create a large-scale art piece to show the community importance of recycling and reusing.
The DC SCORES program year will culminate on June 5 with our annual Jamboree! at Trinity University in Washington, DC. The Jamboree! is a city-wide event that brings together our 700 participants and their families for a day of soccer and fun activities including face painting, activity booths, and relay games. The event is a great way to both celebrate our poet-athletes' hard work throughout the year and start the summer.
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