Coaching students by ProQuest

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									Reaching Black Boys: Athletics


Coaching students
North Lawndale’s powerhouse basketball team                                                     pe can play a key role in motivating
                                                                                                black boys to work hard in the class-
                                                                                                                                           advice from a teacher.
                                                                                                                                               Teenagers like Paul—a soft-spo-
relies on a coach who goes the extra mile to mentor                                             room as well as on the basketball          ken, reflective and ultra-polite young
                                                                                                court or football field.                   man who kept largely quiet during a
his players. The district needs more coaches like                                                    But finding effective coaches isn’t   team interview with Catalyst
him, but finding candidates is tough.                                                           easy. (In March, reports surfaced of
                                                                                                the widespread use of corporal pun-
                                                                                                                                           Chicago—do not trust adults easily.
                                                                                                                                           Largely estranged from his mother
                                                                                                ishment in the city’s sports programs.     and father, he was raised by his grand-
              By John Myers                 ty, a Boston-based sports research                  Despite hundreds of allegations, CPS       parents in Austin, says Paul’s favorite
                                            and advocacy group.                                 officials reported firing just 26 staff    teacher, Misuzu Miyashita, who




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          aul Bunch, a 6’11” junior at          Zillijan Jones, one of the better stu-          members for hitting, paddling or           teaches English and classical litera-
          North Lawndale College Prep       dents on Thorpe’s squad, wrote his                  otherwise physically abusing stu-          ture. The young man was hit with a
          Charter School, blocks a lot of   senior thesis on how extracurricular                dents between 2003 and 2008.)              series of troubles. After his grandfa-
          shots for the city’s top bas-     activities keep students engaged in                      The district’s top sports adminis-    ther and grandmother died—his
ketball team. The trouble is, he’s          school. Describing his thesis, he says:             trator, Calvin Davis, wants to beef up     grandfather three years ago, and his
rarely on the court.                        “It gives you more of a social status.              training for current coaches and           grandmother during Paul’s freshman
    “Paul is our main guy that strug-       And when you have a social status,                  attract high-caliber newcomers with        year—his aunt took custody of Paul
gles academically,” says his coach,         you don’t mind coming to school.                    better pay. Coaches make $22 an            and moved the family to Oak Park.
Lewis Thorpe, who considers it part         Extracurricular activities make you                 hour in addition to their salary as        But the long commute to school hurt
of the job to keep Paul on track            popular, and kids don’t want to miss                teachers or other staff, but have a        Paul’s attendance and the family
whether he’s playing or not. Thorpe         school when they’re popular.”                       cap on their working hours, an             moved again to North Lawndale. It
once found his starting center loung-           As mentors and, in some cases,                  arrangement that can cut into pay if       was a chaotic year, and Thorpe
ing at home just before a game—Paul         surrogate fathers, coaches like Thor-               a coach works beyond the cap.              brought Paul into his home tem-
had failed to get his school work in                                                            Instead, Davis faces the prospect of       porarily, giving him a much-needed
order that week and, knowing he                                                                 severe budget cuts.                        dose of structure and discipline. It’s an
would be benched because of the   
								
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