ACE (Academic Creative Engagement):
Academic Creative Engagement (ACE) is our out-of-school academic curriculum connected to 21st Century Skills, National and Core State Standards and the sport of tennis. It is designed to encourage academic achievement, health/wellness and social/emotional skills by guiding children through educational processes that include decision making, problem solving and working together toward common goals. When combined with a tennis program, it provides important developmental assets and reflects the ideals and principles of Arthur Ashe by giving children access to a safe, healthy and educational opportunity. It can easily operate in partnership with schools, community centers, governmental programs, universities and other after-school providers. The lessons support classroom instruction and encourage students to communicate. Schools are mandated in preparing children for specific school and state assessments; whereas an out-of-school program provides the chance to talk about learning – the importance of thinking, discussing math concepts, writing clearly and speaking well. The activities contained in ACE provide a platform from which this goal can be reached.
ACE Book 1.0 consists of 50 math, literacy and nutrition lessons and specific activities to prepare students for the national Arthur Ashe Essay and Art Contest. The curriculum is designed for 4th through 6th grade students; however, it can easily be differentiated to engage all ages and grade levels. The lessons are created to be supportive, engaging and experiential in nature. They are guided by academic standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). They also support the Core Curriculum State Standards, which are being implemented in most states.
All literacy activities are coupled with a mentor text. The texts include children’s literature, poetry and informational materials. Comprehension, connections, vocabulary and listening skills are explored through reading aloud and discussion opportunities. Collaborative discussions deepen thinking and help students express opinions while respecting the opinions of others. Visual displays are created in several activities to make student’s thinking visible and clear.
The mathematics activities provide hands-on opportunities to further explore concepts taught in schools. Using the tennis court and math manipulatives, children investigate and explore shapes, lines and angles. Games provide critical thinking and problem solving opportunities, while practicing basic facts. Recording and sharing of data and following a process are integrated into several activities. Students create visual displays to enrich their ability to present and share with others.
Cooperative learning is encouraged to help children think about what they can do to build a respectful emotional climate on and off the court. Hands-on projects give children the opportunity to interpret their ideas and demonstrate their knowledge. Parents are encouraged to participate throughout the program.
The NJTL of Trenton is considered a First Serve life skills chapter with USTA. It participates in the National Student Athletic Competition portion of the program with its Ashe Elite players. Report card grades & tournament results determine points earned throughout the year. The winners can earn up to a $1,000 scholarship from NJTLT and a chance to win $5,000 in college scholarship funds from the USTA.
NJTLT incorporates technology (iPads & lap top computers) into many our initiatives. Not only does it enhance and differentiate our existing programs, but it provides exciting opportunities for Trenton youth who may have little access to computer technology in their school system or at home. It supports the academic, tennis and nutritional education components by adding a “traveling” computer literacy program. This is accomplished by using laptop computers with age-appropriate software packages, computer hardware peripherals and related supplies. This unique initiative has enabled our Chapter to bring academic tutoring and mentoring skills to our participants in the classroom and at the tennis courts on a year-round basis. The summer camp program utilizes technology in the ACE program to engage the youth in logical and critical-thinking skills; making learning fun while enhancing their computer literacy and thinking skills. iPad’s were purchased through a grant provided by the NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives – THANK YOU!
The NJTL of Trenton provides academic tutoring for those who need help with homework or test preparation. Volunteers and certified teachers are available for support. In addition, computers are available for those who do not have access to technology.