Middle School Academy

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Program Snapshot

Offered in partnership with four Boston Public Schools (BPS) sites and supported by Tenacity AmeriCorps Fellows, Tenacity’s Middle School Academy (MSA) is an intensive, three-year program that focuses on improving students’ academic, tennis, and fitness skills, while simultaneously nurturing social/emotional development and engaging families.

The MSA program provides students with 300 hours of enrichment per year, helping them grow academically and socially while improving their fitness.

Why middle school is a critical time

An increasing body of research suggests that the make-or-break moment predicting high school graduation may actually occur in middle school. Adolescence is a pivotal period of brain development that marks the beginning of a person’s ability to problem solve, think critically, plan, and control impulses.

Studies have pinpointed a series of indicators that can predict how likely a student is to drop out of high school: attendance, behavior and course performance – which are described as the “ABCs.” When a student struggles in just one of these areas as early as sixth grade, there is a 75% chance that he or she will not graduate high school.

What makes Tenacity’s program unique

The whole-child approach of the MSA program focuses not just on the academic and social-emotional aspects of youth development, but also stresses the importance of fitness and health by incorporating athletics and nutrition. Recent studies have shown that students involved in sports based youth development programs are more likely to stay in school, more likely to graduate, and more likely to attend college.

Each component of the MSA program is designed to provide students with the support, skills, and perspectives they need to successfully complete middle school and transition smoothly to a “right-fit” high school. The MSA program not only helps improve student engagement, behavior, effort, and course performance – 95% of our MSA students graduate from high school.

Core Curriculum Areas

  • 4:1 student to instructor ratio
  • Emphasis on: Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, Journaling, Habits & Homework
  • Two family visits per year
  • Empowering families with self-advocacy strategies
  • 6th Grade – Personal Identity
  • 7th Grade – Social Competencies
  • 8th Grade – Transition to High School
  • 4 hours/week dosage
  • Competitive play/leagues
  • Health/wellness
  • Teamwork & good sportsmanship
  • 15 – 20 Field Trips per year throughout New England
  • Mid-year and End-of-Year ceremonies/retreats
  • Poetry slams and talent shows
  • One-on-one tutorials
  • Parent workshops
  • High school application support
  • High school visits

MSA School Sites

Curley K-8

Frederick Middle School

Mario Umana Academy

BCLA-McCormack