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New sports league eases transition for middle school students

by thenotebook on Dec 10 2013 Posted in Latest news

by Naveed Ahsan

Research shows that the middle school years can be a tough time for children.

A new athletic association has been helping these students navigate through this critical period. It’s called the Metropolitan Philadelphia Athletic Association (MPAA), an athletic league mostly devoted to charter schools that focuses on the role of athletics in character, social and educational development among disenfranchised youth, including students with special needs.

The MPAA was officially launched in September by American Paradigm Schools, a nonprofit educational management organization.

Though sports programs are available in charter schools, American Paradigm CEO Stacey Cruise said, the MPAA was designed to allow middle school students to compete in a variety of sports that otherwise might not be available to them. Cruise said she believes taking part in the league will help students enhance their leadership skills, giving them more opportunities to excel in college and beyond.

Middle school “is a critical year for kids,” said Cruise, “and through sports, we can help middle school students make good decisions and choices” for their futures.

The sports that the MPAA offers for students in grades 5 through 8 include co-ed flag football, soccer, volleyball, track and field, boys’ wrestling, girls’ softball, boys’ baseball, and girls’ and boys’ basketball.

Every weekend, the MPAA also hosts “Super Saturdays,” giving students the chance to take part in alternative or nontraditional sports, including golf, tennis, lacrosse, and ultimate Frisbee. The league also requires participants to perform at least six hours of community service each semester.

About 12 schools now participate in the league, most of them charter schools. Cruise attributed that imbalance to word-of-mouth among the small charter school community and said that the MPAA hopes to expand to a greater variety of schools. She also said that the organization is open to any kind of group that targets middle school students, including community centers.

Participating groups are required to pay a membership fee that is based on the number of sports offered to their students. This fee covers such costs as referees, Super Saturdays, and other events and activities.  

MPAA commissioner Michael Poploski said that through athletic engagement, students can “build a positive mindset, while also increasing athletic achievement.”

“I’ve seen kids with behavior issues become positive leaders by staying active and playing sports.”

Naveed Ahsan is an intern at the Notebook.

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Comments (40)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 15:29.

Wasn't Stacey cruise removed by her own organization and replaced with Juarte krokys, former CEO of independence Charter! Interesting nothing has been said, but mostly all CEOs in this organization seem to be one race! Would the notebook look into this, there's reports throughout the paradigm schools, First Philly, Memphis, Tacony both elementary and high, that Stacey was removed due to issues of hiring minorities and financial improprieties! Clarity is needed as this organization under Gerold Santili is making millions off the backs of poor or unfortunate children! A much needed investigation is needed on the operations of Memphis Street Academy that is under CEO Borelli who has ran out most of the staff in just short time and has removed minority staff! Students are actually suffering! Reports show that all 8th graders, last school year, were promoted to 9th grade under borelli's order even though the principal niahma Holliday, which left this year, refused to stand behind the directive! Most of the 8th graders were never in school or completed assignments, even pssa numbers show much worst data from previous school district management! Something is really wrong here! Wake up Philly!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 13:50.

A lot should be investigated. The hiring of friends, families, people sleeping with one another, and etc...

Submitted by العاب تلبيس بنات (not verified) on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 18:52.

constantly i used to read smaller articles or reviews that as
well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this article which I am reading now.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/10/2013 - 18:28.

Thank You, Stacey !!!!

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 09:20.

Middle school sports should be part of the Philadelphia School District and they should be run by the School District under the PIAA rules.

Sports and extracurricular activities are one of the prime builders of character, leadership, and a sense of team.

To be honest (since that is my theme for this year), just about everything I learned about being successful in life, and just about everything I needed to know about leadership, I learned on the baseball field, the football field, and on the wrestling mat.

Whatever else I needed to learn, I did so by reading and study, and most importantly, through my life's experience.

Children also learn more proficiently when they get exercise every day.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:04.

When will someone investigate the extra money renaissance schools get? Tens of millions of dollars in extra funds from the state that could go to Promise Academies or other projects are given to a few select providers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 15:33.

Where's Stacey Cruise?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 06:38.

Let go. Only African American on the APS staff and she's gone...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 16:59.

Knock! knock!
Who's there! Jurate krokys, I am the BIG CEO!
Where's Stacey Cruise?
Who's that?
If you say that name again you will be termidated!
So much fear exist in all paradigm schools!! I have seen many of my coworkers punished, placed in closets, this year that are mouse and ant infested, but Borelli's office, oh I apologize Dr. Borelli, lol, has a personal exterminator that assure her office is rid of critters that invade this school. This year under Big Boss, Aqueelah Ellzy, is like a mafia type administration! They have forgotten the calling in working with and for children, but they stand on the side and barks orders and orders and orders and then makes threats for completion of such orders. I along with half the staff see the great potential and instructional program that Stacey Cruise is well known for, but she has been cast out and the school is on it's way down! They get media attention for normal basic instructional climate school should be in, but none have shown that my fellow teachers have ran out, not because if the students but because the over power administrators have and dedicate, which is not leadership! Many of my friends work out confined areas that are not acceptable! But when a board meeting is to occur there's hundreds of dollars spent on feeding the board dinner that night when we are not allowed to have basic tools for our own rooms. We really need to unite! Jurate has walked around collecting and facilitating surveys and please I urge you don't respond it's just a trick to identify you and your position. I will maintain my classroom and students equipped with what I have love and knowledge! Aside from that, poor ingagment coaches are running all day as hall monitors because of the great disturbance and noise children unsupervised or have lack of service venture out and explore new grounds! Time to wake up and I know many of us have shared videos of nasty fights and comments made by administrators it is time we post them! Go Wild Cats

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 19:13.

Thank You, once again, Stacey Cruise !!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 20:25.

Please stop with the stupid "Thank You Stacey Cruise" I doubt that Mrs.Cruise
would be wasting her time writing these narratives. Because people have a negative opinion of some of the professionals running the Paradigm and several of the schools, their comments should not be dismissed as being a part of
a vindictive attack from Mrs. Cruise. Give Mrs. Cruise as well as bloggers
on this issue, the respect they deserve. They all work and have worked equally hard to try and make the Paradigm Schools successful.

Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 21:33.

If Ms. Cruise is no longer the CEO, when was this article written? Wasn't she the founding administrator of Phila. Charter School for Literacy?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 23:44.

Successful Schools? Explain that.... Borelli, Magargee, Juarte, Stantili, Ashley Redfearn - Neswick, Sterling, Aqueelah Ellzy, should we continue! Cruise developed a system that has been trashed by these so called educators and all have salaries well over 150,000! Is it really about educating children! Ellzy and Borelli have become so tight can't tell who farts with all the bull they philosophical talk about! Education has become so worst in these schools, only because they want and seek public notice! I urge all paradigm staff to stand up, they can't fire us all! Dr. BS known as Borelli needs to know the damage she is doing to children alike educators! We are talking about millions and millions $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ of tax payers money! They play with the staff like we are nothing and not valued and oh borelli how she play with numbers and has the assistance of famous BLY! Time to wake up, paradigm should not have America associated with it, because it's dictator ways is not what our founding fathers said education should be! Let's look into the credit receipts for their events, board meetings, outings, gifts! While schools have very little books, these greedy animals eat so well at a board meeting it's outrageous! Justice needs to be served on this paradigm! PA Department of Education and School District of Philadelphia need to investigate! I'm sure the employees will be glad to assist!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 01:55.

You misunderstood my comment, I never said or inferred that The Paridigm is doing a good or successful job of educating students. What I should have said, was that the teachers like
Mrs Cruise have TRIED to make The Paradigm Schools successful., unfortunately Mrs Cruise
Is no longer with The Paridigm and the teachers at all of the schools do not have an advocate,
Nor do they have a voice, same for the parents of the students. Really sad what has
Happen to the schools under The Paradigm.

Submitted by Annonym (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:50.

Is Paradigm another June Brown? Those on top in charters are making huge salaries / perks while teachers are under paid and schools are under resourced. What happened to Ms. Cruise? Why is Kryokys in charge? Kryokys has a history of going after teachers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:56.

If American Paradigm Schools works FOR the schools, why can't the schools fire the CMO?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 06:01.

Sigh. Remember the days of Cruise and Donohue at First Philadelphia Charter School for Literacy? You could talk to either of them about a problem in your classroom and get support, not blame. You could also talk to either of them about a personal problem, which would help put things in perspective so you could go and teach. We will miss you so much, Ms Cruise! Thank you for all that you have done for teachers and for the children!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 06:35.

OMG! YES! And Stacey would buffer us and the children from Mr. Santilli's desire to make the school sound like a BANK! A school is NOT a business!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 06:51.

renaissance schools are just a way to kill the union and regular charter schools. you have to be rely connected to get a contract and then you get a building and all kinds of extra money. they also get to choose which kids come to their schools. how is that a neighborhood school. they also send behavior students to camelot so they don't have to deal with them and that is against the law. ms. cruise made a lot of money working for paradigm and was part of this mess. why feel bad for her unless she decided to tell the truth about these scams to the public.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 09:35.

I THOUGHT THE ARTICLE WAS ABOUT THE MPAA? A GREAT ORGANIZATION CRUISE STARTED TO HELP CHILDREN. THAT WAS HER GOAL IN ALL THE SCHOOLS. INTERESTING THAT EDUCATORS ARE COMMENTING WITH INFORMATION THAT IS NOT ALL CORRECT. EMOTIONS ASIDE, IF YOU ARE A TEACHER THAT IS UNHAPPY WORKING FOR ANY SCHOOL ANYWHERE YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STAY IN SUCH PLACES YOU TALK SO BADLY ABOUT. WHY WORK SOMEWHERE AND BE SCARED. MANY CHARTER SCHOOL TEACHERS GET PAID LESS THAN WORKING IN A DISTRICT OR SUBURBAN AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS, SO IF YOU FEEL SO ADAMENT ABOUT HOW BAD THINGS ARE, YOUR RESUME AND CREDENTIALS SHOULD SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND YOU COULD APPLY SOMEWHERE ELSE. IM SURE THAT THEY WILL HIRE YOU ESPECIALLY IF PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT SHOWS YOU ONCE WORKED FOR AN AMERICAN PARADIGM SCHOOL BECAUSE OF ITS GREAT REPUTATION CRUISE HAS DEVELOPED AND SUSTAINED. THE CHILDREN WILL SUFFER BECAUSE OF THE NEGATIVITY - THE ADULTS WILL EVENTUALLY BE OKAY. LETS NOT FORGET ABOUT THE CHILDREN.

Submitted by Andrew Hunter (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:18.

I, like EVERYONE else, came to American Paradigm to seek employment, they did not come to me. I believe it to be a great opportunity, that was not available in the PSD, if you feel differently, leave. To say "WE" feel a certain way, is incorrect, man up, state your name and your case. Happy Holidays!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:34.

Now now andy! Borelli helped you write now huh! What happened to your staff some were caught in extracurricular activities and others you just didn't understand so you complained and was granted a new staff, truth is always around us! Happy holidays

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:48.

I think it's time for the real educators not to be drawn to the attention of frustrated writers! If you are working and supervising children! Then there should be no time to add to any comments on this blog! Enjoy your day!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 19:06.

I am so glad that as a parent in the fish town community, I was not suckered in to having my children attend Memphis. If the leadership and teachers fight like this, God only knows what really happens! Is it true that all 8th graders were sent off and not met the educational requirements! If anything that has been shared throughout this snowball fight! This is one that needs to be looked at by the department of education! I am glad I sent my children to penntreaty last year! Omg! Poor children!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 20:03.

My children went to First Philadelphia. Miss Cruise and all of the teachers were wonderful! The school was a great place and my children loved it! I don't understand why it needed a management organization to come in. Everything was fine before. With everything I have read here, it doesn't sound like the American Paradigm and Memphis St are the best thing for children without Miss Cruise. I agree with the other commenter. Fire the management organization and go back to the way things were. I don't have a grievance with anyone. I just want other families to have the experience that my family did. That's all I want to say. Thanks for reading.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 20:27.

Hi! My friend told me about this blog so I thought I'd put in my 2 cents. I don't know much about the other schools but First Philly was wonderful for my daughter. Ms. Cruise used to call her pumpkin and she would tell me about that and laugh. Ms. Donahua was very nice too. Always smiling and helpful. Mrs. McGargee wasn't warm and fuzzy but sure did good things at the school. We liked her too!

Look at all of this fighting! Isn't that what First Philly tried to avoid. I can't remember what it was called but I know they had class meetings all the times to solve problems. Go back to the way things were! I know you can't bring back Ms. Cruise or Ms. Donahua or Mrs. McGargee but you can drop the other schools and make First Philly the way it was in it's prime! I feel bad saying this but after reading this I'm glad my daughter isn't there for any of this. If the teachers are on here talking about this and I know the parents are, how can you keep this from the kids? They're going to get hurt. Let First Philly be First Philly! OK, Thanks!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 22:25.

How sad! Most of these comments seem to be coming from disgruntal past and present employees.
So sad that you feel the need to bash a organization that has nothing but the best of intentions for ALL It's students and staff. The American Paradigm has done an amazing job with First Philadelphia And Tacony Academy. The Administration at Tacony Acamdemy is dedicated staff and children in the school. Why is it a bad thing to go after teachers? If they are not performing to the high standards then they should be let go! I am glad that they take the education of the children seriously and will not keep teacher around that do not do their job. I hope those that are on here blasting the Paradigm spend as much energy on their lesson plans and educating their students as they do posting all this negativity.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 22:36.

Ok, people. Let's get your facts straight. Cruise is gone. That is no doubt sketchy. But many of those other administrator named are hard working and dedicated. Don't ever compare them to June Brown. She's a criminal. That's disrespectful to them and the kids they serve. We shouldn't use this comment section give bad reps to hard working educators.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 22:49.

Ok! Let's have American paradigm display it's spending and salaries! It's a public school so it should be available! I know for a fact that if anyone stands out even in support of this paradigm, on this forum will be fired! Today marked a very dreadful day at work as administration focused only in finding out who was behind or responsible for such revealed truths, allegations or what ever it may be! I know my site, Memphis, that is names repeatedly in the posts, had a huge meeting to discuss what was being said, so much instructional time taken out to address this, if it were lies and myths, why pounder or even hold a meeting! Why does the building engineer name himself on one of the post! Does he have the time to read blogs and be responsible for the maintance of the school! The truth will be revealed slowly but surely! And all those so called leaders will run! Explain why teachers with experience is difficult to find in these schools, only new student teachers! The experienced are the so called leaders, that demand high pay because of their so called knowledge! Educators who pose a threat to expose the idiotical educational knowledge of their superiors are immediately fired. These schools are a joke, they are exposing more corruption and stay tuned, more teachers will expose the truths! Andy get back to work and train your staff, so many rooms are left undone and students have to clean! Sinful to have children do your job!

Submitted by MSA Staff (not verified) on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 23:39.

Dear MSA Colleagues,

We are a Caring School Community:

Four principles are at the heart of the Caring School Community program:

Respectful, Supportive Relationships
Stable, supportive relationships with peers and adults create a sense of safety and belonging for the students, allowing them to take the risks that true learning entails. Mutually respectful relationships among teachers and between families and the school enable communication and coordination in the students’ best interests.

Opportunities for Collaboration
Students learn to work with others through opportunities to collaborate in academic group work, community service, tutoring, and other realms. By doing so, they cultivate both concern for others and the motivation to work for the welfare of others.

Opportunities for Autonomy and Influnce
When students have a genuine say in the life of the classroom and school, they become committed to the decisions they help to make and feel responsible to the community they have helped to shape.

Emphasis on Common Purposes and Ideals
When a school community deliberately emphasizes the importance of learning and of behaving humanely and responsibly, students have standards of competence and character by which to live and learn.

Ultimately, these principles are factored into decisions about school policy, pedagogy, structure, and content and are embodied in the myriad choices that every member of the school staff makes every day.

At this time we are not showing a caring school community and it is unfortunate that we have to take are disagreements to a blog.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 08:29.

Really?
How else can we be heard?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 09:03.

This has to be Doctor BORELLI lol! Doctor lol my computer refused to type such designation, lol! Four principles are at the heart of the Caring School Community program: Now that you have reminded us, we will go back being robots, and forget that we are abused and underpaid! Isn't your salaried greater than the school district? That salary was 125,000 +! It's about the children, really? Us teachers do it for the children! Jurate krokys, just left independence charter, well ran out, and you should hear the celebrations after she left, and has remained at over 150,000! For what exactly, since she only replaced Stacey Cruise now! And Stacey Cruise has cruised her way through thousands herself! Today will probably be another lock down day, computers locked down, internet connection interrupted, because the truth is coming out! I know for a fact Memphis administration spends so much money on anything, non related to educating children! What I can't stand is seeing Michael BLY stuff himself, if anyone has seen him, he's like 400 pounds, at every meeting and takes left overs! They order so much food, and it's not limited to him, borelli's own personal secretary Lauretta makes the orders as well! They give out the left overs so their family may be able to eat at night! Don't you think with their salaries this high, they could bring their own package lunch! Our students don't even eat and these animals feed themselves like crazy! All about the children! And Aqueelah Ellzy, she packs for all her kids and for days to come! This type of spending is just an example of June brown at Memphis! And although stacey is not at fault here, it's borelli! It's spending that all CEOs do and use children and four principles to justify it! Wake up!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:53.

Grow up people! If you hate your job and your employer so much then stop collecting a paycheck and quit.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 11:23.

Ms.Cruise was an amazing person and principal when she was in charge of First Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 13:45.

I really have issue with these false allegations about American Paradigm Schools and the mean spirited personal accusations addressed to administrative employees. What kind of teacher would be making such horrible comments. Please resign. It is unfair for both the children and your employers to suffer your poor mental health. Why would you stay in a job that you obviously hate. Why are you spreading your personal hate. Even worse, there are people reading your blog here of hatred as if it were the truth.

Parents and teachers please don't believe this individual. For sure you can tell that it is only meant to be vindictive.

These statements are written by someone who is disturbed and pretending to be informed. All of it is erroneous.

I have frequently visited and supported the educational excellence at American Paradigm Schools and have experienced the positivity of the culture and environment in each of the schools. The children are happy and on task and so are the teachers.

Not quite sure how and why the previous writer is not willing to be part of the success driven team at his/her given school, but there always will be some weak links in any field.

Unfortunately, this one is an uninformed and desperate individual who is crying out for help.

Please see a professional and get some help. I will keep you in my prayers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/15/2013 - 20:50.

I have had nothing but positive experiences with the administrative team at the American Paradigm schools. To talk about " going after heads" what is wrong with that? If teachers are not working up to the high standards of the American Paradigm they should be let go! I also have to say I feel bad for the students in your classes with all your negativity I am sure it is rubbing off on your students! You should do them a favor and LEAVE!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 16:36.

These statements are written by someone who is disturbed and pretending to be informed. All of it is erroneous.
The proof is in the pudding! This is exactly what's going on in a court room today! Jurors are reviewing much information like the ones made here by various teachers, parents and administrators. Cruise seems like she will have her day to explain and parents should also be informed the spending of the monies that their children were promised! I believe the real educators that give it their all are teachers! We have reached well above the call of duty to make sure that Memphis and all paradigm schools function properly. I hope that a more concrete evaluation of how funds have been spent and the lavish lifestyles of our past and current leaders are revealed. Many allegations were made, through various forms and some parents have questioned some! I encourage parents to attend the next board meeting and be outspoken and clear as your children's future is your responsibility.

Now lets all pray for everyone who made statements and hope they won't shut this school down, like June browns schools! These are still great schools and we need to continue to support the cause! Leaders and their lavish life's will always be caught!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 12/14/2013 - 00:22.

My children attended First Philadelphia on the first day it opened. We were greeted by Mr. Santilli, who I was told is the one and only founder of the school. There was no Stacey Cruise at that time, the idea as she was a founder is a bold face lie !!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 12/15/2013 - 20:44.

Sorry but you must have misunderstood!! She was a cofounder !

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/19/2013 - 11:43.

She was Never a Cofounder, Ms. Cruise was employed by Mr. Santilli after He founded First Philadelphia. Stop being a Monday Morning Quarterback, Mr. Santilli is the One and Only Founder,
That is why Ms. Cruise is standing in the unemployment line !!!

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