ABC Doesn’t Take a Summer Break

Once upon a time, many years ago, ABC staff used to call summer our “quiet season.” While schools were out on break, ABC staff would slow down and plan for the year ahead.

When the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Cincinnati students back in 2020, we decided that education and enrichment can’t be put on hold. Futhermore, recent data reflects that the average student loses 17-34% of the prior year’s learning gains over summer break, and that learning loss is exacerbated for students in low-income households. 

Nowadays, there is no “quiet season” at ABC! We don’t want summer to be a time of loss and struggle; it should be for fun, experiential learning! We are proud to provide programs and support to our students year-round. With the help of our many partners and the individual schools we work with, we’ve served over 4,600 students this summer alone. Even compared to our impact during the school year, when we serve approximately 15,000 students, this is no number to balk at!

Take a look at some of the fun we’ve been having this summer.

Summer Scholars at Cincinnati Public Schools

Throughout the month of June, ABC partnered with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) in their Summer Scholars initiative.

CPS launched the landmark Summer Scholars program to provide additional educational and enrichment opportunities to students throughout the month of June at no cost to the students or their families.  While students spend their mornings focusing on academics and social/emotional learning, their afternoons are filled with enrichment activities, provided through partnership with ABC and other nonprofits.

Enrichment curriculums were designed mindfully and carefully to cater specifically to the needs and interests of each school’s student population. Some examples of the programming offered include music, visual arts, performing arts, STEM, team sports, American Sign Language, financial literacy, yoga, martial arts, and environmental learning.  

In total, ABC provided enrichment activities to 4,560 students at 19 different CPS schools. This totaled 312 activities per week and 2082 total hours of programming to students during Summer Scholars.

Big City Jazz

This June, ABC helped eleven students in the CPS Jazz Academy have some once in a lifetime experiences. Students participated in an all-expenses paid excursion, first to Pittsburgh, where they had the unique experience of recording their own playing in the MCG Jazz Recording Studio and later played in a jazz club. From there, students traveled to New York City and had the opportunities to play at the historic Harlem Nights Music Club and Lounge, take a Jazz workshop at the Lincoln Center, see a world-class ensemble play Duke Ellington’s top hits, and meet internationally acclaimed Jazz artist and educator Wynton Marsalis.

“Marsalis is perhaps the most recognized jazz artist and educator in the world today. He really doesn’t have any peer. He’s done so many amazing things for jazz education in his life and he’s the model that all of us jazz educators look up to. He’s a brilliant player, amazing composer, multi-Grammy winner, he started the jazz at Lincoln Center program, and directs that orchestra- so for me, one of the real highlights was the students getting to personally meet him,” Dr. Rudnick, Fine Arts Curriculum Manager at Cincinnati Public Schools, commented. 

While in New York City, students also had a chance to visit historic and iconic landmarks, including Times Square, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. “Very few student groups get an opportunity like this,” Dr. Rudnick said. This opportunity was especially remarkable, given that it was free to participating students. “We don’t want any student to be excluded due to financial situations.”

ABC consistently supports the Jazz Academy throughout the school year. “Students are always taught about Beethoven and Mozart, but to qualify this as the only culturally significant music is a Eurocentric fallacy. It’s just not true,” said ABC Executive Director Sally Grimes. “Especially in Cincinnati, where we have such a rich history of jazz. That’s why the Jazz Academy is so important. We need to show kids role models of different colors in music; how are kids supposed to be something they can’t see?”

Basketball Camp with NBA Expertise

Over the July 22 weekend, a basketball skills training camp took place with instructors including Tim Hardaway Sr., five-time NBA All-Star Champion, and his son Tim Hardaway. Jr, current shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks. “I’m here, I’ve got my son here, I’ve got my nephews teaching here; this whole opportunity for this camp came about when my brother met the camp director, Daniel Ross. It’s great to have this time with my family, making an impact with so many other families,” Tim Hardaway Sr. shared. 

In partnership with The Ross X Factor, the organization running the camp, ABC offered scholarships to 23 students who otherwise could not have attended the pay-to-play camp. “I want this partnership with ABC to last for years to come,” said camp founder and director Daniel Ross. “This is too good an opportunity for any kid to miss.”

"It's a wonderful thing, [ABC] is doing," said Tim Hardaway Sr. of scholarship opportunity.

The three day-camp took place at Seven Hills High School and included students of all genders grades 3-12. Students honed their skills in speed, agility, and basketball technique as well as built social-emotional skills, such as self-confidence. “These kids could be at home, sitting around, getting into trouble but instead, they’re here. [On day one of camp], we’re wearing them down and getting their blood up; [days two and three], we’re going to teach them about endurance and perseverance,” Tim Hardaway Sr. explained. “These kids didn’t come to goof around, they’re here to work.”

Our special and most ardent thanks to Coach Daniel Ross, Tim Hardaway Sr., and Tim Hardaway Jr. for giving our students such a fantastic opportunity this summer!