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HEE: Henderson hits grand SLAM with new school

It’s getting harder and harder to motivate students to do well in middle school and high school. Students just don’t seem to care about doing well, while local educators find it harder to keep students on task.

Sports programs can’t be the only thing at schools, or can it?

Enter SLAM Academy, a charter school in Henderson that just broke ground.

SLAM stands for Sports Leadership and Management. The school’s mission is to prepare students for post-secondary studies and careers through an engaging educational program emphasizing sports leadership and management career preparation. This is my dream school, a school centered around sports. I would have loved this school as a kid. This school made the news last week because rapper “Pitbull” is behind the school and helped it to break ground.

The school is being built adjacent to the Russell Road Recreation Complex at 5901 E. Russell Road in Henderson and should start classes in the fall of 2016. In addition to core studies, the curriculum will include classes on sports medicine, sports marketing and entertainment media and sports business and management.

The academy will infuses sports themes into a college preparatory curriculum.

I really can’t think of a better way to motivate students. What a brilliant idea! Here are some educators thinking out of the box, just when I thought they couldn’t. I think this idea is innovative.

Schools like this are needed to let kids know what is out there for them. They don’t need to be sports themed but they need to be geared to reach the unreachable kids, the kids that are being left behind.

Do we need a school like that out here?

I don’t think we are there yet. We have some great teachers out here that are making strides with our kids.

It’s all about keeping kids motivated to learn.

At the high school kids have several different paths they can choose from. They can look into automotive technology, culinary arts, furniture and cabinet making, graphic design, office management and early childhood development.

The Trojans even have their own school newspaper to promote writing. I like the fact that students in this class don’t have to be the best writers in the school to write for the paper.

That is far more than I had when I went to high school.

There is even a program called JAG, which helps at-risk students graduate from high school. Jag stands for Jobs for America’s Graduates and is a state-based national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people.

We need to ask ourselves some questions when looking at motivating our kids. What kinds of programs will work with our kids? What do we want our kids to achieve and then look at the programs that are working. I think a good place to start is the middle school.

I have been told by educators that some kids lose interest in school after fifth grade. School isn’t exciting to them anymore. The SLAM Academy starts at the sixth grade. This is an exciting school if you like sports, but there is more to life than sports.

At Rosemary Clarke Middle School the teachers are fighting back with classes like STEM and STEAM classes, which integrate science, technology, engineering, art and math all in one classroom.

I think we are on the right track in Pahrump and just need to keep pushing the envelope. One teacher at the middle school even brought in an MMA fighter to explain how an MMA fighter uses math. Another teacher takes his kids on free field trips to expose them to the outside world. They just went to Death Valley to meet up with scientists there.

So I don’t think we need a sports school here, but what we do need is to be innovative when it comes to learning and I can see we are doing just that.

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