Books and Basketball Spring 2013 Information/Training Session Summary

1. State of SLPS
-St. Louis Public Schools are not an accredited school district
-Faces budget cuts nearly every year
-CEC had to close facilities and force employees into early retirement

2. Our Mission
-Books and Basketball is a community service organization dedicated to the mission of providing St. Louis Public School children with an enriched after-school academic and athletic environment.

  • Important distinction about our program we are all mentors – not just tutors
  • This way we are able to: transcend the boundaries of the classroom, form valuable social skills in the gym that translate into classroom success, and positively reinforce learning

3. Typical Day
-45 minutes of tutoring followed by 45 minutes in the gym

  • Tutoring is obviously a main focus. But where we really connect to the students is in the gym (form meaningful relationships; know what’s going on in their lives etc.)

-Our Schools:
A. Shaw Visual and Performing Arts Community Education Center

  • Biggest school for us
  • Close to “The Hill”

B. Mullanphy Investigative Learning Center

  • Right across from the Botanical Gardens

C. Hamilton Elementary

  • Closest school to campus

4. Additional Events
 -Field Trip

  • Every semester we have a Field Trip, either in College Hall or on the “Swamp” of the South 40
  • All the mentors come – usually the last Thursday of the semester
  • Play games (humans boggle, cup stacking, relay races etc.)
  • Catered food
  • A chance for students to see Wash U & make college seem like a real place

-Friday “Fundays”

  • Last year WUSwing came to Shaw to give dancing lessons and performances
  • Great way to add cultural enrichment to the B&B education

-ThurtenE Carnival

  • Thurtene Honorary holds a carnival every spring
  • B&B hosts a booth with the help of volunteers like you!
  • Prizes include gift certificates to Noodles/Chill etc.
  • Last year we won an award for the Best Game Booth
  • We also bring a few B&B students to the carnival

5. Organizational Structure
-Executive board
-SLPS Foundation

  • What makes books and basketball so special? We are an independent organization, yet also a WU affiliated student group
  • Work closely with Executive Director to handle budget and manage our expenses
  • The money we raise typically goes to our events, such as our booth at ThurtenE Carnival and our Field Trips
  • We raise money from our T-shirt sales and donations from charities, such as Kappa Karaoke

-Mentor Supervisors (fancy term for Day Leader)

  • In charge of a small group of mentors on a certain day and time
  • Responsibilities include communicating with your group to organize weekly meeting spots and oversee all activities on your weekly shift

-Site Directors (fancy term for School Leader)

  • In charge of all mentor supervisors that work at their particular school
  • Responsibilities include serving as the liaison between the after-school program coordinator or principal of your school, and communicating with each mentor supervisor to make sure their groups are good to go

-Faculty Advisor: Dean Darla D. Dale!

6. Best Practices
-Give them sense of consistency (weekly commitment)
-Discuss school learning
-Talk about their life

  • Don’t prod unnecessarily, but establish a connection through compassion and genuine interest in their life
  • Always reinforce the benefits of school, learning, and a desire to succeed!

-What to do when stuck

  • Give hints but don’t give answer
  • Guide them to a solution, but make sure they find the answer
  • Watch for cheating, guessing etc.
  • Start over, look at in different way, try a simpler problem
  • If they get frustrated, don’t be afraid to take a small break and try something else before coming back to it

-Teach them to teach each other

  • Just like us, kids love showing off their knowledge
  • Use it constructively to also develop social interaction skills
  • Teamwork is an important skill to foster
  • Use teamwork on homework, and also emphasize cooperation in the gym
  • Have them focus on things that may be more challenging
  • Have strong math students help weaker ones…same concept for reading/writing/etc.

-Learning Competitions/Games

  • When some kids finish before others and it’s very discouraging and distracting to see others leaving for the gym before them. Make sure you have learning games at the ready to keep the kids from getting restless
  • Make learning more exciting with hangman (coach them through the strategy of picking letters), point systems, contests, etc.

-Discipline & Keeping Focus

  • Threats (can’t be empty) – bring them to school principal/after-school program coordinator if necessary
  • There to be a mentor first and foremost – being their friend comes second
  • Get them to respect you
  • Use the gym time as an incentive to focus on work first

-Bad Practices – gum/candy/cellphone use

  • They will attack you for it, and if they eat it, will have sugar in their bodies and be tough to control

7. How to Get More Involved
-Everyone on our Exec Board started off as mentors like you
-By getting more involved, you can have a say in the future direction of our program

8. Personal Stories
–> Always remember that you are making a huge difference in these kids’ lives!

9. FAQs
-How much of my time will it take up?

  • 2 hours/week


  • There will be a designated driver(s) within each group

-Do I work with the same group of kids every week?

  • Yes, but up to personal preference – best results occur with consistency

-What if I cannot make it on my day?

  • 24 hour policy, except for extenuating circumstances
  • Plan ahead for exams – Professors will understand that B&B comes first 😉
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