Started during the 2018-19 school year, AAA Pathway provides mentoring and resources to student athletes throughout Cincinnati Public Schools. This could include tutoring or mentoring, mental health counseling, or study groups. In addition, AAA Pathway helps 11th and 12th grade students prepare for post-graduation, with trainings such as ACT Bootcamp and athletic-specific college resources.
During the 2018-19 school year, ABC and CPS developed the AAA (Athletic and Academic Accountability) Pathway program, a comprehensive student athlete development program designed to provide CPS athletes the supports needed to achieve success in both their academics and athletics. AAA Pathway includes career coaching, academic support, nutritional guidance, and mentoring. The ultimate goal is for every student athlete to graduate prepared to lead a life of choice, whether that’s more education, employment, or enlistment.
AAA Pathway provides mentoring and resources to student athletes throughout Cincinnati Public Schools, 80% of whom live below the federal poverty line and 75% of whom are African-American. Through AAA Pathway, the GPAs of all student athletes in grades 7-12 are monitored regularly. If a student athlete is at-risk, AAA Pathway coaches step in to help the student build a pathway for success. This could include tutoring or mentoring, mental health counseling, or study groups. In addition, AAA Pathway helps 11th and 12th grade students prepare for post-graduation, with trainings such as ACT Bootcamp and athletic-specific college resources. ABC and CPS have partnered with Strive Partnership to collect and analyze data on student athletes to ensure that AAA Pathway is effective and improving year to year.
A key piece of the AAA Pathway program is the ACT Bootcamp, a free, six-week intensive small group training focused on developing the skills required for ACT success through practice, lecture discussion, guided mentorship. ACT Bootcamp is designed specifically to provide additional ACT support for student athletes who are actively being recruited to accept a scholarship.
Prior to COVID, ACT Bootcamp was hosted at three schools for students within a certain geographic radius. Each six-week session included an average of 12 student athletes, with 56 students completing the program during 2019-2020.
Due to COVID, this year’s ACT Bootcamp kicked off Monday, July 27 as a virtual class. Students meet with the instructor via Google Classroom twice per week, two hours at a time, with homework in between. ACT Bootcamp includes a practice test and an instructor who is available at any time throughout the six weeks. Thirteen students from Taft, Schroder, and Aiken are participating in the first ACT Bootcamp of the year.
Check out the video below, created by our partners at CPS, for more content on the ACT Bootcamp.
Another element of AAA Pathway is SALT (Student Athlete Leadership Team). Here are two videos showcasing the student athletes and the work they do to improve our communities through SALT:
We are proud to share the following successes from AAA Pathway’s first years in CPS schools. This data compares the 2018-2019 school year, which is when AAA Pathway launched, to 2017-2018.
AAA Pathway has also received local and national recognition as an innovative and unique approach to helping student athletes be successful academically and athletically. Most notably, the national publication Education Week wrote an article featuring AAA Pathway:
In the article, Jill Ruby, an AAA Pathway coach was interviewed, saying “It has been the highlight of my year so far, getting to connect with kids and getting them to grow academically and persevere through the struggles they’ve been having.”
At Hughes STEM High School, she has a caseload of about 30 athletes whose grades and attendance patterns she checks on a weekly basis. If any of them have an F or two D-level grades, she devises a plan with them to pull up those marks—including attending after-school study sessions, prompting them to communicate with their teachers about making up missed work, or putting them in touch with someone who can tutor them on a tough literature concept. In her coaching role, Ms. Ruby has helped students apply for colleges and even fill out the FAFSA.
Since the program launched in 2018-19, the Cincinnati Bengals have donated $130,000 to help support AAA Pathway. In addition to their financial support, the Bengals have donated school supplies to CPS students in AAA Pathway.
During the 2020 pandemic, while students in AAA Pathway have been meeting virtually, various Bengals players have joined virtual ACT Bootcamp calls to lend their support to the students. Bengals players, such as offensive lineman Michael Jordan, join the video chat, and answer any questions they have about college, the ACT test, or other various topics.
ABC and Cincinnati Public Schools are incredibly grateful to the Bengals for their support of AAA Pathway!