Minnesota Department of Education statistics are abundantly clear and confirm what many of us already know - low-income students throughout the state are falling further behind in math, reading, and in high school graduation rates. These gaps carry implications for the future economic and social health of Minnesota.
The sole mission of Athletes Committed to Educating Students (ACES) is to help reduce the academic achievement gap in the Twin Cities and improve the likelihood of success for underserved students.
Founded in 1994, ACES has served over 5,000 youth throughout the Twin Cities, with many college-bound alums joining our ranks as staff. In 2015, ACES expanded to three Boys and Girls Clubs locations to provide academic middle school programming. ACES currently runs 14 programs at 12 program sites (before-school, after-school, and summer) and serves 750 youth annually. A recent longitudinal study via the U of M showed that ACES participants had higher high school attendance rates, higher reading proficiency scores, higher graduation rates, including on-time graduation, and better school engagement.
At ACES, we know learning can best happen when kids are engaged and happy so we've partnered with the Minnesota Lynx, Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings, United FC, and Wild to support our work. In fact, we're proud to be the first, and only, organization of its kind in the Twin Cities to have the direct support of every major Minnesota professional sports team.
ACES’ sports-themed academic programming brings learning to life for our students, with curriculum activities that get youth interested and engaged in sports history, statistics and science. By showing students that what they are learning in the classroom applies to something they’re passionate about – sports - it translates to improved grades and a new passion for their own education.
In addition to the emphasis on building academic skills, ACES helps students learn important life lessons around perseverance, teamwork, anti-bullying and emotional intelligence via social and community learning projects
ACES is deliberate in working with kids in 4th through 8th grade as this is a specific stage of reading where kids transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” For at-risk students in particular, this time is critical to their future academic success.
Our approach targets three components of educational development – academics, behavior and community – all of which have been proven to increase the likelihood of academic and social success.