PROGRAM DESIGN AND MODEL
Success today in school and later in life requires solving problems, critical thinking, communicating, social skills, perseverance, and resiliency. We foster these qualities in our after-school engagement centers using culturally-relevant, project-based learning to engage youth. We expose our youth to thoughtful, caring, and skilled teachers who have high expectations and use best practices in youth learning and development. Our program goals are enhanced by our impact programs of either basketball that follow engagement center sessions. Our coaches are communicators, role models, and mentors from the students’ community who use sports and dance, as part of a fully integrated curriculum, to have fun while reinforcing the lessons of the engagement center.
Our program model is sixty minutes of project-based learning in the engagement center followed by equal time in either basketball or dance two times per week for twelve weeks each term. The engagement center portion is designed to be led by a teacher from the school and a 3Point educator assisted by college students from the University of Massachusetts Boston. The basketball and dance programs are led by coaches from the community employed by 3Point. The curriculum which is integrated throughout the program follows the best practices in youth work and youth development. 3Point operates a basketball league handhelds dance competition that provides additional learning opportunities. We also hold an annual youth summit where our students present their work to each other and Boston public officials. Finally, we reinforce and build on the gains our students have made during the school year by providing five and seven week summer academies.
WHY ENGAGEMENT CENTERS
When you walk into a 3Point engagement center, the room is buzzing with activity. Adults and youth are enthusiastic, energetic, and directly engaged with each other. The passion of our staff and their interest in our youth is obvious. Our youth look forward to being in the program. Once the activities begin, things move quickly from reading a quote, to a brief discussion, to individual and group work before transitioning to basketball or dance. We use project-based learning to engage students, working collaboratively in small groups to investigate, debate, and pursue solutions to relevant and authentic community issues selected by the students. The subject matter of projects vary, but all focus on fostering critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, perseverance, and resiliency. Students research, analyze, and give voice to their ideas and solutions using cutting edge digital and computer technology and fabrication equipment allowing them to produce meaningful result.
Basketball is a highly valued activity by our youth. Our basketball coaches have the opportunity to be one of the more influential persons in our students’ lives. Our coaches take this opportunity and the responsibility that comes with it seriously. Our coaches are communicators, teachers, and role models. They develop caring and meaningful relationships with our youth. 3Point’s core principles are integrated throughout the basketball program. Through basketball, youth come to understand the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, communication, self-discipline, self-management, perseverance, and resiliency. Basketball provides a physical outlet that reduces stress and pressure that inhibits academic performance and is a vehicle that allows us to emphasize the importance of health and fitness. Basketball builds a sense of community and belonging, and contributes to our youth developing a shared sense of responsibility and support for each other.
Hip Hop and other forms of dance figure prominently as part of our positive youth development model. Dance provides our students, particularly our female students, with a medium of self-expression that they embrace. Dance cultivates important competencies, empowerment, and a sense of belonging. When you enter our dance programs, you can feel the happiness, excitement, and caring. Dance provides a safe space for youth to transform and to express their authentic selves. Through dance, our youth become more socially aware and self-confident, and we embrace dance as a pathway to health and wellness. Our students use the medium to increase their well-being, address emotional and social issues, anxiety, and depression. Dance often proves to be a cornerstone for our youth’s personal growth.
WHY SUMMER LEARNING ACADEMIES
Research establishes that students who do not participate in summer learning lose 2.6 months of math skills, two months of reading skills and the equivalent of two months of all-around learning. This learning loss results in students falling even further behind during the school year since teachers must spend on average six weeks in the fall re-teaching old material. The cumulative impact is that by sixth grade, students in the Boston Public Schools may be as much as two years behind - dramatically increasing the chances of not finishing high school.
Economically disadvantaged urban students without summer learning programs lose even more than learning over the summer. Without summer programming, physical fitness levels decline and unsupervised youth over the summer are more likely to use alcohol and drugs and to engage other high-risk behaviors.
SUMMER LEARNING ACADEMY AT THE FESSENDEN SCHOOL IN NEWTON
Our summer academy runs five days a week for five weeks from early July until the end of the first week of August. Beginning daily at 7:30 AM, approximately 50 students gather at The Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury and are greeted by 3Point staff. Our students are then transported by bus to the Fessenden School campus in Newton. During the morning, students participate in a Jr. Shark Tank program, learning about entrepreneurship, preparing business plans, designing and fabricating products, and presenting their products to a panel of investors. Lunch is provided in the school dining hall and the afternoon includes swimming, computer design, ropes courses, dance, and basketball. The morning curriculum is cognitively demanding, requiring students to do research, analyze, organize new bodies of information, and engage problem solving honing math and writing skills. The afternoon curriculum aligns with the Boston Public Schools’ standards for fostering social-emotional growth.
SUMMER LEARNING ACADEMY AT THE YAWKEY CLUB
Our summer academy runs Monday through Thursday for seven weeks at The Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury. Our students begin the day at 8:00AM with a healthy breakfast attended by 3Point staff. After breakfast students are energetically engaged throughout the morning working on social entrepreneurship and designing community programs for social change. Students finish the morning employing computer design to support their projects. After a family-style lunch, our students swim, golf, play basketball, attend classes focused on social-emotional development, and hear from guest speakers from the local community. Fridays are fun days, and our students take field trips, see movies, and attend amusement parks. The program Monday-Thursday focuses on the development of critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication skills, and, in addition, fosters social-emotional growth.