The anchor of the Urban Dove Team Charter School in New York City is unlike any typical high school; it “uses sports as a hook to draw in at-risk students.” An article by its editor, Jeff Glor, on the CBS News website explains the premise and the outcome of such a school. The school, which was founded by Jai Nanda, is located in two floors of a Pentacostal church in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Its population includes at-risk students from all over the city. These previously disengaged students were recruited from their former schools because of their challenging behavior and/or poor academic performance.
The school day is atypical. “They spend the first three hours of every day with their team and coaches.” Students rotate sports according to the season to participate in playing basketball, lift(ing) weights, jump rope, using punching bags, riding bicycles, and doing yoga. When students do go to academic classes, their coaches go with them. They sit in the classes and assist them with their homework and problem solving.
Nanda’s concept is an outgrowth of his afterschool program. That program, designed to challenge older students by having them lead younger children, has enjoyed a 98 percent high school graduation rate and a college attendance rate of 95 percent over the last 15 years.