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Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring DC SCORES explained

On the last day of February, dozens upon dozens of DC teachers woke up early on a Saturday morning and visited Jefferson Middle School.

The purpose? DC SCORES' Coach Kickoff training.

With our program's 21th spring season just days away, our staff took the coaches representing 45 public and public charter elementary and middle schools through a series of exercises designed to prepare them for the months ahead.

During breaks in the training, I chatted with coaches about their schools. Charles Robinson told me that his students at Truesdell Education Campus asked him all winter when programming would begin and even played games in the snow.

Well, kids, today has finally arrived. And with the weather cooperating -- temperatures in the 50s! -- this afternoon you'll find hundreds of kids playing soccer during the critical after-school hours. Others will be in a classroom with their team of peers, beginning the three-month process of brainstorming and then implementing a service-learning project to better their school and/or great community.

Soccer + service-learning -- that's what the spring DC SCORES season is about. And through both disciplines, students build on the teamwork they developed at their schools during the fall season and continue to strengthen their communities.

How does our spring program work?

For our 28 elementary school programs, teams have soccer practices twice a week and hold service-learning sessions twice a week. At the middle school level, our 17 programs package soccer and service-learning into a three-hour block twice a week.

The other day, of course, for all our schools is Game Day (see the video below). DC SCORES runs the only elementary and middle public school soccer leagues for both boys and girls in the city. Our first Game Day is March 26 -- elementary schools play on Thursdays and middle schools take the field on Fridays -- and the competition continues until the season-culminating Jamboree! May 30 at Anacostia Park.

What impact does DC SCORES have on the students and schools it serves? Here are a few quotes from coaches:

"A lot of parents and staff participate and come out to the games to support our students, really to just kind of get our kids hyped and amped up when they see them come. Had we not had DC SCORES in our school, we probably would have been just struggling like we had the last few years.”
-- Kenneth Hillard, Drew Elementary School

“This is our third year, and we were begging and begging to become part of DC SCORES. And we’re so glad because the kids are performing, and because they have some outcome. Not only that, they’re looking forward, they’re doing good (in school) because they are in DC SCORES. That represents something that they belong.”
-- Gloria Pieiro-Landing, Seaton Elementary School

"They all want to be on the soccer team. The parents want their kids on the soccer team because they see what it’s like, they see the coaches, and they see the personalities of the kids, that the kids are playing soccer and writing and it’s upping their test scores."
 -- Shannon Nelson, Brightwood Education Campus

And there you have it. This spring, we hope you can attend an event or a High Five! Tour; volunteer (we have many one-time and consistent opportunities); and/or give the gift of a team.

Happy first day of programming!

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