Tenacity received a boost to its youth offering last summer when specially selected to team up with Boston Public Schools and Boston After School & Beyond on a pilot program funded by The Wallace Foundation for rising fourth graders in Boston.
The Wallace Foundation, which works to better the lives of children through improvements in public education, focuses on enrichment programs that offer low-performing students access to better academics.
Being selected by Wallace for the Summer Learning Project was “a huge vote of confidence in what we are doing,” explained Ned Eames, President & Founder of Tenacity. “We are focusing our efforts in the right places,” he continued, “opening up Tenacity to fourth and fifth graders to get them prepared for the rigors of middle school.
Tenacity’s new Capacity Building Plan, The Next Chapter, now includes an Elementary Program for 4th & 5th Graders, introducing students and their families to Tenacity’s overall Pathway to Excellence, in preparation for the Middle School Academy. “When BPS contacted us about this pilot, we knew we had a perfect match,” added Eames.
The curriculum, much like what Tenacity and BPS are already doing in the Middle School Academy, was designed specifically for rising fourth graders, with integrated academic enrichment components. In the morning, after a healthy breakfast offered to all123 selected students, the focus was on improving math, reading and writing skills. After lunch, students enjoyed physical fitness and tennis games that integrated the math facts and vocabulary introduced each morning.
Even the literary topics were an integrated part of the program. Students read short stories about tennis greats Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe and biographies of both Williams sisters. They finished with a novel, Tennis Trophy Mystery, by Cam Jansen, a well known children’s mystery writer.
The goals: combat summer learning loss so students returning to school in the fall are grade-ready; introduce rising fourth graders to the Tenacity Pathway, which begins in fourth grade and continues through college or other post-high school endeavors; and create and strengthen our school-community partnerships to serve high-need students throughout the learning day and all year long.
The six-week program was delivered on weekdays at five BPS schools, with Fridays reserved for field trips. The kids visited the NE Aquarium, The Science Museum and enjoyed a party at Constitution Beach on the final day with family members, program staff and school principals.
The staff, comprised of BPS teachers and Tenacity tennis instructors, met weekly to ensure the optimal integration of academics and sports for the students. An added complement to the program, a social-emotional component, was delivered under the advisement of Assoc. Professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gil G. Noam. Students were encouraged to share personal challenges while the staff was trained to listen and respond with problem solving techniques.
The successful endeavor may lead to three additional summers of the program funded by The Wallace Foundation. Testing results of our efforts will be available by year’s end. Tenacity is grateful to The Wallace Foundation, BPS and Boston After School & Beyond for teaming with Tenacity.
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