Saturday, May 21st, marked the last day of PYB’s Middle School Partnership Program. This after-school and weekend program, in conjunction with Temple University’s School of Education, provided student-athletes in the North Philadelphia area with a multi-faceted, comprehensive, and innovative educational opportunity to help them grow to their potential as students, athletes, and active responsible citizens.
The program consisted of eighty middle-school aged students, 10 boys and 10 girls from the four schools: Paul L. Dunbar School, Blaine Academics Plus, Jay Cooke Elementary, William D. Kelley School, and George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science. The program lasted for three sessions (8 weeks each, 24 weeks total) on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, programming took place on the student’s particular middle school campus and consisted of basketball skill building and game play. Youth-centered academic literacy and reading enrichment was equally incorporated through engaging discussions around relevant books. This past year, PYB utilized two books that our students found identifiable: Mo’ne Davis’ book, Remember My Name and Hoops by Walter Dean Myers. On Saturdays, all 80 student-athletes participated in game play on Temple University’s campus and received positive coaching and mentorship. Additionally, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement (PYPM) supplemented programming with writing and poetry sessions, allowing student-athletes to freely accent their youth voice in writing and poetry. Utilizing the power of the game of basketball as context, our students learned in an interactive and engaging, environment that did not feel like school but rather a relatable and open atmosphere.
This upcoming year, PYB hopes to expand the Middle School Partnership Program to four additional schools. Furthermore, the academic programming will integrate a math component into the curriculum called NBA Math Hoops created by Learn Fresh Education Company. NBA Math Hoops is a fast-paced basketball board game that allows students to learn fundamental math skills through direct engagement with the real statistics of their favorite NBA and WNBA players. The curriculum is tied to Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Learning Skills, and it has been shown to improve students’ basic math skills and understanding of statistics, as well as their interpersonal skills, driving them to collaborate more effectively with their peers.
PYB thanks Temple University, its partnering middle schools, and the student-athletes who participated in this past year’s program. Our staff looks forward to continuing to offer the Middle School Partnership Program to middle-school aged student-athletes to aid in their holistic personal development in the years to come.