Newsletter February 2014
Our college preparatory program is designed to meet the needs of talented young soccer players who possess strong character, resilience for learning, and robust intellectual curiosity. It all starts with neuroscience and physiology: our comprehensive knowledge of adolescent development informs everything we do, from designing curricula to addressing the nutritional and hydrational requirements of top-performing young athletes. We’ve put into practice a paradigm shift that extensive research has shown to be crucial to the advancement of education: one which places the student rather than the teacher at the center of a dynamic learning process that emphasizes creativity. By training our students how to be the primary agents of their own learning and think outside the box, this model prepares them for success in academic and professional environments that are increasingly defined by interdisciplinary collaboration, technological advancement, and cutting-edge innovation. In keeping with this shift, we follow a “blended learning model” which hybridizes classroom and online learning: after a vigorous soccer training session that prepares their brains for optimal concentration and focus, our students
spend their mornings in technology-rich classrooms and study pods, working with our English, math, history, and science teachers—all of whom hold advanced degrees— and then spend their afternoons independently engaged in online classes tailored to their individual interests and passions. This is a model for great education across the board, but it is particularly well-suited for students aiming to play soccer at the highest level. Possessing the game intelligence required to play professional or Division I college soccer means having finely-tuned executive functioning skills: the ability to control impulses, judge timing, filter information, and make decisions—all in a matter of seconds—is a game-changer, and metacognition, or knowing how you learn, is central to acquiring these skills. You can look at other sports academies and other private schools—no one else is doing what we’re doing. We’re taking everything our student-athletes have and maximizing it. We’re getting to the heart and soul of each learner and helping them harness their passions to become leaders in soccer stadiums, classrooms, and boardrooms all over the country and the world.
Cutting Edge Education For A New Generation Of Learners Weâ€™ve put into practice a paradigm shift that extensive research has shown to be crucial to the advancement of education: one which places the student rather than the teacher at the center of a dynamic learning process that emphasizes creativity. By training our students to be the primary agents of their own learning and think outside the box, this model prepares them for success in academic and professional environments that are increasingly defined by interdisciplinary collaboration, technological advancement, and cutting-edge innovation.
The â€œblended learning modelâ€? we follow hybridizes classroom and online learning: after a vigorous soccer training session that prepares their brains for optimal concentration and focus, our students spend their mornings in technology-rich classrooms and study pods, working with our English, math, history, and science teachers, and then spend their afternoons independently engaged in online classes tailored to their individual interests and passions.
The Roles and Responsibility The Student The ultimate goal is have each student know how to learn, access, and make sense of information, how to access resources (teacher, on-line teacher, internet, books). You will learn to be a self-directed learner through the teachers guidance and become an advocate for yourself in the learning process. The Teacher Role of of the Teacher will be to serve as a resource for making sure you use the course content to learn the skills. Faculty still make decisions about learning, just not all of them, and not always without student input. The ultimate goal is to equip students with the learning skills they need to teach themselves. However, selfdirected learners still need teachers but need them to be advocates in the process of creating independent learners
In Their Own Words Our Mission
A Parent of a 10th Grader
Our mission is to inspire a passion for learning in the hearts, minds, and bodies of our student-athletes—a passion that will transform their lives by enabling them to reach their fullest potential as athletes, life-long learners, and engaged citizens of the world.
“I’m comforted to know my son is being taught by staff who respect his passion for both soccer and academics, and who are genuinely excited and well-prepared to leverage each of those passions to help him achieve a higher level of excellence in both.””
In service to this mission, we employ the art and science of teaching to help students become enthusiastic learners capable of making analytically-grounded decisions and understanding exactly how they learn best in order to achieve independence in the classroom and beyond.
Andrew Verdi - 10th Grade
We create a community that embraces and celebrates its broad diversity, and we strive to ensure that financial considerations are not a deterrent to matriculation at the school.
Our Vision YSC Academy seeks to be an internationally-recognized leader in both learner-centered education and the development of elite soccer athletes. We strive to align the latest research in the science of the body and the science of the mind with the end-goal of empowering students to become independent learners in the classroom, on the soccer field, and in all life pursuits. We create an environment where they come to see “the beautiful game” that drives their passion as a thinking game that transforms a passion for learning into the most beautiful game of all.
Fast Facts • • • • • •
founded in 2013 coeducational, grades 8-12 licensed as a Private Academic School by the Pennsylvania Department of Education member of the National Association of Independent Schools first school in the country to integrate elite youth soccer development with college-preparatory education directly affiliated with the Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer team
“Unlike YSC, my previoous school did not allow me the freedom to express my love of writing, nor did it allow me to prosper into a better writer; frankly, it held me back. There the teacher chose the topic, made the restrictions, and told us line by line exactly what we had to do. Now, being out of that kind of system I can see it truly was routine that I have become so familiar, so blinded, that it actually had been stunting my growth as a writer…. ‘We don’t receive criticism; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.’”
In Their Own Words
The Thinking Game
Cody Wax - 10th Grade
YSC Academy students start each day on the training pitch or in the Athletic Development Training (ADT) room working on the technical skill elements of their game and/or their agility, coordination, balance, and power. Each session is individually tailored and carefully monitored to make sure the athlete is given the best possible environment to expedite and enhance personal learning.
“This theme (from the film Life in a Day — everyone is different and everyone experiences and handles different situations differently) is why I believe that the English class I take is not only different, but also better and more beneficial for me and my peers than just your typical everyday English class. I believe this because Life in a Day proves that the real world is not just a textbook; no one will be played the same hand of cards, no one will be the same person, so why should we grow up with, and be taught, that mindset from the first day of school to the last?”
Like all participants in Philadelphia Union youth development programs, students at YSC Academy are taught that soccer, at its highest level, is a thinking game. Throughout YSC Sports, the home of YSC Academy training and Philadelphia Union’s official youth development facility, there are cultural guidelines for the students to follow: Technique First — Skill is our Foundation; Never Be Afraid to Create; Get Forward to Create Numerical Advantages; Have Fun Working Hard. The educational messaging is everywhere and explicitly connects YSC Academy and Philadelphia Union on a cultural basis, strengthening the bond between the classroom and the field.
Mo Conde’ - 11th Grader “There’s a lot of love around here. I’ve made a lot of friends and the teachers are great. It takes me an hour and a half on the train to get here in the morning, but it’s worth it.”
Cameron Keys - 11th Grade Online learning is not only beneficial to the students because it It teaches students things like responsibility, ownership, accountability, desire, work ethic, and taking initiative. In most courses a teacher at YSC Academy will be able to help you out depending on the class you are taking, however in some classes you might be by yourself and only have the help of your online teacher. Whatever the case may be you can still learn the importance of the characteristics I previously mentioned. Due to the fact that the class is online it is your responsibility to make sure you stay on top of your work. With our schedule we have an integrated time slot that we call “Flex Time” for students to do their online work. During this time it is the student’s responsibility to get working on their online classes. This puts a lot of responsibility on the students because if they get far behind in their work, they have to spend their weekend catching up, which no one wants to do.