While students at Cincinnati Public Schools are learning remotely, programs like AAA Pathway are managing to persevere. Created during the 2017-18 school year through a partnership between ABC and CPS, AAA Pathway is a comprehensive student athlete development program designed to provide CPS athletes the support needed to achieve success in both their academics and athletics. AAA Pathway includes career coaching, academic support, nutritional guidance, and mentoring.
One important program within AAA Pathway 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, and 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
On Tuesday, September 8, Michael Jordan of the Cincinnati Bengals hopped on a virtual call for the ACT Bootcamp to provide words of advice and encouragement to CPS students. Jordan is an offensive-lineman who played college football at the Ohio State University.
Jordan answered questions and gave advice on topics such as adjustment to college, how to balance work and life with a busy athletic schedule, and how to prepare for the ACT itself. Jordan revealed that his biggest challenge was getting himself to not rush through the test. He encouraged students to make sure to relax when taking the test, and be careful of tricky wording used in the questions.
When asked if he had advice for making the most of their senior years in the face of the COVID pandemic, Jordan urged the students to “try your best to look at the glass half full, and try to enjoy the process.” Jordan mentioned that he still has strong bonds with many of his high school teachers, and advised the students to form similar bonds with their teachers.
The last bit of advice Jordan left for the kids was to “believe in yourself, knowing you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”
Since 2018, the Cincinnati Bengals have donated $130,000 to support the AAA Pathway Program. ABC and CPS are extremely grateful for this amazing partnership with the Bengals which, starting this year, has expanded to include players joining virtual ACT Bootcamp calls throughout the school year.
District AAA Pathway Advisor Stephanie Price adds, “I am so thankful for the Bengals partnership with AAA Pathway and especially for the opportunity to have Michael Jordan talk with our kids. I know our students felt supported by Michael and they will continue to remember his words—even if they don’t realize it now.”