Academic Tutoring and Tennis Coaching - A Formula For Success
The East Palo Alto Tennis Program began in 1990 after two years of successful summer programs organized by Jeff Arons of the Youth Tennis Foundation, an organization that promotes tennis instruction for inner-city youth. After consultation with the superintendent of the Ravenswood City School District, Dr. Charlie Mae Knight, four tennis courts were built on the site of the Ravenswood Middle School (now the Cesar Chavez Academy). By the spring of 1991, the program fielded a team of twelve players to compete in the middle school league and in sanctioned tennis tournaments throughout the Bay Area. In 1992, the program implemented an academic tutorial where 21 team members received academic assistance in a one-on-one relationship with a volunteer academic tutor. Since then, the program has grown tremendously. In 1995 the Association of Tennis Professionals honored EPATT as one of the nation's top 10 inner city tennis programs. Today, approximately 100 children participate in both the tennis instruction and academic tutorial. In addition, more than 100 volunteers work with the program on a consistent basis. In 1997 the program moved to Stanford University, and it now operates at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
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Learn more about our tennis program on the Tennis Website
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Students are selected for the program based on parent commitment, academic need, and potential for impact. Once students enter the program they are matched, one-on-one, with a Stanford student tutor. Depending on the grade level and commitment of students and their families, students are placed in one of three tiers:
Drawing on the philosophy and approach of the tennis component, the tutorial provides a structured and disciplined environment where students can work to improve their academic skills. In grades K through 6, EPATT primarily focuses on literacy development through phonemic awareness, phonics, reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary development. Older children are tutored in all academic subject areas, library and research skills, and test preparation.
One strength of the academic component is its connection with the tennis component. Only tutorial participants may compete in tournaments or the middle school league. In addition, when a child performs well academically, s/he is eligible for greater tennis privileges such as tennis clinics, field trips to various sports events, tennis summer camps, and special time with the coaches. Because of the academic/sports link, tutorial spots are valued by participants. Children in tutorial are motivated to excel and don't want to lose their spot in tutorial.
The most important aspect of East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring is parental involvement. Parents bring dinner, attend tournaments and organize special events such as barbeques and potluck dinners. These activities build a positive supportive community among the participants and their families. Most importantly, parents ensure that students come prepared to tutoring, maintain a positive attitude and remain motivated to achieve their goal of college attainment. As needed, parents support staff with discipline problems. If you would like your son or daughter to be added to the EPATT waiting list please click here.