Academic mentoring is a growing area of focus. We require all travel players to share their report cards. If we see a player is struggling in school, or with a particular subject, we do not exclude them from our teams/programs, but rather seek out mentors or other academic resources to help. We now host an after-school tutoring programs for handful of students with academic need. This is staffed and coordinated by the wonderful Diane L., who has more than 25 years of teaching experience.
We also learn about our players’ non-soccer interests, and find opportunities to fuel those interests through local partnerships. As an example, students with a propensity for art were connected to creative design, photography and ceramics programs at Essex Art Center. For our oldest participants entering high school, we also monitor their transition and give them support where needed. For example, we just connected 7-year Beyond Soccer player, Edgar G., to an after-school graphic design program at Lawrence Community Works!
We are constantly reinforcing classroom achievement, and because we offer such a powerful hook, through sport, our participants stay with us for an extended period of time and are more open to “off the field”enrichment opportunities that both expand and challenge their minds.
In an effort to promote “student-athlete”, every fall and spring season our middle school travel teams (8 teams, or 175+ kids) compete for “the highest team GPA”. The team or team(s) with the greatest overall improvement from week 1 to 12 is awarded with a team chosen group outing/field trip.
Some of Past and Current Academic Enrichment Partners and Friends:
- Diane La Monica, retired teacher
- UMass Lowell Men’s Soccer Team
- Merrimack River Watershed
- Essex Art Center
- Lawrence Community Works
- Merrimack College Soccer Program