A+A provides academic support for student athletes. Students need to meet minimum semester GPA requirements to participate in sports and be eligible for athletic scholarships. But beyond that Assistant Principal Dubois McMillan explains, “Our goal is to inform our student athletes of the importance of a strong academic profile.”
Coaches track student progress, and when they see one of their student athletes struggling, they refer the student to A+A.
Twenty to thirty A+A student athletes meet in English teacher Wendy Beckendorf’s room on Wednesdays during sixth period.
The students often organize themselves by their sports teams, working alone, in small groups or with a peer tutor. They also have access to a classroom set of Chromebook laptops.
“They really want to improve academically,” Beckendorf says, “and they are absolutely supportive of each other.”
Last year McMillan set the tone for the program and inspired the students to strive for more by sharing his own youthful experiences as a student athlete, and making certain they understood that everyone needs a back-up plan.
The result was significant academic achievement for students like Cameron, a junior who increased his GPA from 2.3 to 2.8.
The importance of a strong academic profile goes beyond enabling a student to participate in sports or to get a scholarship. It’s about students taking responsibility for their own lives. As McMillan explained, “We want them to know that they can determine their future.”