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53rd St. School CLC students win NBA Math Hoops tournament

NBA Math HoopsBy Brian Foley, Web Content Specialist

Congratulations to sixth-grader Kyla McCray and eighth-grader Fayth Buchanan Cooper, the 2018 NBA Math Hoops tournament champions! Cooper and McCray represented their 53rd St. School Community Learning Center on Tuesday, March 6 at the second annual edition of the event in Wisconsin. NBA Math Hoops hosts 23 total tournaments across the nation.

NBA Math Hoops brings in fourth-to-eighth grade students from across the area to participate in an event at the Milwaukee Bucks' brand new Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center. Over 70 "mathletes" from Milwaukee, Racine, Oak Creek, Waukesha, and Pewaukee attended the tournament, including 26 students from Milwaukee Recreation-affiliated locations.  The NBA Math Hoops event is a free program for all Milwaukee Public Schools after-school groups through a partnership with the Bucks and a sponsorship with GE Healthcare.

In addition to our 53rd St. CLC champions, two-person teams from Auer Ave. School CLC, Carver Academy CLC, Camp Congress, Camp Fairview, Fratney CLC, Camp Hawley, Kagel CLC, Lincoln Ave. School CLC, Thurston Woods Academy CLC, Camp Throeau, Story School Safe Place, and Zablocki School CLC all participated this year.

This is the second consecutive year an MPS after-school program has captured the NBA Math Hoops crown; Camp Fairview won the tournament in 2017.

The board game is closely aligned with the sport of basketball itself. The games begin with a tipoff, and proceed with a series of shots, fouls, free throws, steals, and turnovers. The 16-week season starts with a three-week preseason slate where the participants work through several curriculum pieces. From there, the games ramp up through the championship in week 16. There is even a trade deadline in week nine, when students are allowed to deal up to two players!

NBA Math HoopsAccording to the website, NBA Math Hoops provides a "fast-paced basketball board game, curriculum, and community program that allows students to learn fundamental math skills through direct engagement with the real statistics of their favorite NBA and WNBA players." The organization also cites a startling statistic that 82 percent of low-income students are not proficient in math. "Failing a math class in middle school is a key indicator for dropping out of high school, which leads to a lifetime of struggle." This event provides another opportunity for these students to learn and grow through areas that are more relatable to their own lives.

Students' test scores have improved in each year of the national event; scores jumped nearly 37 percent in the 2015-16 school year.

"Games such as NBA Math Hoops are an especially wonderful fit for the afterschool setting because they “disguise learning," CLC supervisor Beth Kurtz said. "Students who participate in NBA Math Hoops practice math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and statistics... Further, students practice critical leadership and youth development skills such as teamwork and good sportsmanship."

Great job by everyone involved. Keep up the good work and continue to make us MPS Proud!

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