As DC SCORES has grown over the past several years -- from 20 schools, to adding middle schools in 2006, to 27 schools, then 42, and now to 60 sites, including several recreation centers that make up the first-ever DC City Soccer League -- we've expanded our reach across Washington, DC. And now we serve 2,200 kids in neighborhoods throughout the entire city -- meaning all eight wards. This fall, we'll bring to you a highlight program in each ward.
At KIPP AIM Academy, extracurricular activities are a priority. The programming involves an incredibly enthusiastic and dedicated group of fifth- to eighth-graders.
Poetry coach and 5th grade literacy teacher Sara Gould shared a few key facts with us. Through our talk with her, we really got an insider's view of the program at KIPP AIM. Sara has an incredible relationship with the students as a DC SCORES coach because she teaches about half of the poet-athletes in her class throughout the day (common at many DC SCORES schools).
Gould said that "being someone that is in the classroom but then also teaching at SCORES is helpful to working with the students." She said that this adds a "mentor layer" and a "humanizing aspect" to the relationship, and not only does it benefit her students in DC SCORES; it benefits her students' peers as well.
"They see that our relationship is different, and they want that for themselves," Gould said. "KIPP is business in the classroom, but when you're in a less-structured, more down-to-earth environment, the kids see you as a whole person. It's an all-around relationship, not just student-teacher."
Though this is Gould's first year at KIPP AIM, she taught and coached at KIPP WILL for five years, giving her a total of six years involved with DC SCORES. She said that when she transferred schools, DC SCORES brought her comfort.
"It was nice to have something I connected with and was passionate about," Gould said.
This year's Poetry Slam! was a unique experience for KIPP AIM because this was the first Slam! that they had participated in since before any of the current students or teachers could remember. Gould described preparation for the Slam! as "stressful" because they were only able to meet for poetry once a week compared to other schools who met two or three times a week.
The students "really pulled it together in just three sessions," Gould said, adding that the incredible performance that we saw on the stage during the Eastside Slam! was really attributed to the students' hard work, both in the classroom and at home after school.
"A lot of it had to do with the excitement and investment," Gould said. She added that the first day after constructing a poem, there were a few students who had already memorized their lines.
"[It] really spoke volumes to [me] about the fact that they cared about it and really wanted to work toward it."
This season of Fall SCORES at KIPP AIM, Gould's poet-athletes worked incredibly hard to overcome challenges. To overcome obstacles during their first season of doing both soccer and poetry, the students practiced treating tiny victories as if they were major, going with a strong "I'm going to get better" mindset, and taking a lot of pride in the fact that they were the first students to start poetry back up at their school.
These students set the base for DC SCORES in the upcoming years at AIM, and future poet-athletes will have this incredible group to thank!
WARD 8 PROGRAMS
Barry Farm Recreation Center (2015)
Hart Middle School (2012)
KIPP AIM Academy (2013)
Leckie Elementary School (2013)
Leckie Middle School (2016)
Moten Elementary School (2011)
Orr Elementary School (2012)
Turner Elementary School (2016)
Washington School for Girls (2015)
KIPP AIM Academy FUN FACTS
Year DC SCORES started: 2013
Uniform color: Orange
Coaches: Soccer -- Sydney Thom, Sara Gould; Poetry -- Tre'Vonn Dennis, Sara Gould
"It's an all-around relationship, not just student-teacher." - Sara Gould on how coaching DC SCORES has strengthened her ties to the students
“[It] really spoke volumes to me about the fact that they cared about it and really wanted to work toward it.” - Gould on how hard the students worked toward their Poetry Slam! performance
FROM THE ARCHIVES