At-risk students in Grant High’s Sports Health Academy are motivated to learn college-prep subjects through sports themes, reports the Sacramento Bee.
“I’m a firm believer if you connect with a kid with something they enjoy doing, then that gives them a reason to come to school,” said (lead teacher Reginald) Harris, the 2010 Twin Rivers Teacher of the Year.
. . . Calculating baseball statistics serves as a math lesson. Researching the goddess Nike is a lesson in Greek mythology. World history scours the globe to point out the origins of different sports.
Harris, who teaches health, said he talks about common sports injuries when identifying muscles, tendons and bones.
The academy, which encourages students to consider careers in sports marketing, sports broadcasting and sports medicine, claims to teach the A-G sequence of college-prep courses required by the University of California and the California State University systems. It receives state funding as a partnership academy, a model that creates small career-themed schools for at-risk students.
I wrote about this years ago when San Jose high schools were starting state-funded electronics academies for students with poor academic and attendance records. Students loved the chance to get to know teachers and to qualify for summer jobs at high-tech companies. They came to school, worked harder and improved. But they weren’t taking A-G courses. The top graduates went on to community college, where most took vocational courses; only a few planned to transfer to a four-year college. The program didn’t promise students more than it could deliver.