When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we had know way of knowing that, 9 months later, we would still be battling the effects. As a program that was centered upon our in-person interactions with scholars, we knew we had to quickly re-design our program to ensure that every scholar would receive the necessary academic, socio-emotional, and college access support.
In re-designing our program for a virtual environment, we knew that 1-1 virtual tutoring, college access programming, and physical and mental wellness needed to be at the forefront, and we could not be more proud of what we have built.
Scholars in the Mission Squash program attend a minimum of 3 days of virtual program, which includes an hour of academic intervention and tutoring, academic progress monitoring, and squash and physical fitness classes. By individually tracking grades and missing assignments each week, we are able to see the areas that scholars need assistance with, communicate with teachers to develop plans to get them on-track, and connect them with one of our amazing tutors who can provide one on one support.
This collaborative and combined effort for success between Mission Squash staff, tutors, our scholars, their families, and their teachers has been highly successful, leading to 60% of scholars having 80% or higher in all of their classes. Additionally, 100% of scholars who received tutoring in a class they were failing were able to pass the class by the end of the quarter.
Beyond keeping scholars on-track for strong grades in their current classes, our Academic Director, Alex Platt, also works with middle school students to target academic gaps in reading and math. Our goal is that 100% of middle schoolers enter high school on or above grade level in these core areas. It has been less than a year since we began the Academic Intervention Program for middle school, and already we have seen fantastic results. Since March, scholars have seen an average of 2 years of reading and 1 year of math growth.
In our squash program, 100% of 11th grade scholars have identified potential colleges and begun to communicate with their squash coaches. Coach Santiago has done an incredible job of linking our two core programs – wellness and college access – to keep scholars on-track towards their goal of playing college squash. As an additional incentive, scholars who are maintaining high grades in all of their courses have earned 1-1 court sessions with Coach Santiago at the MET Downtown. These sessions have been valuable opportunities to prepare for tournaments such as the LifeTime Texas Open, as well as create videos to send to college and boarding school coaches.
This year is also our first year we have scholars applying to college. Our three 12th grade scholars work weekly on goals assigned to them by our Interim Executive and Program Director, Luna Rey, along with support from our College Access Advising team. We cannot wait to see the results of their work!
To hear more from our scholars, check-out the latest Mission Squash video!