Duke Basketball Coach, U.S. Education Secretary To Visit Linden School

LINDEN — Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are scheduled to lead a contingent of dignitaries for the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation Ticket to Reading Rewards (TTRR) program in an assembly at the Myles J. McManus Middle School later this month.

The Linden schools, aided by a grant from The Merck Company Foundation, have been participating in TTRR, a highly successful supplemental middle school literacy program that targets high-risk student populations. TTRR uses external motivations, including role models and incentives, to motivate students to read significantly more books outside the curriculum. The program strives to create an atmosphere where reading and academic achievement is celebrated by all students. It is provided at no charge to schools or students; funding is provided through grants, gifts and the support of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation (NABCF).


Krzyzewski will be joined by other college coaches, including Mike Rice of Rutgers, who has worked with the Linden schools in the program. Several representatives from the NCAA, led by President Mark Emmert, are also expected to attend with NABCF Executive Director Jim Haney; several members of the NABCF board of directors; representatives from Merck; Sports Illustrated KIDS editor Bob Der; and senior executives of Nike, Inc.

More than 100,000 students in 30 states now take part in TTRR, which was created in 2002 in a partnership between Duncan, then CEO of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the college basketball coaches and business leaders of the NABCF and a grant from Chicago’s Ariel Investments. The initial goal was to create compelling reasons for middle school students to read outside the classroom and, in so doing, to improve reading comprehension and reading scores.

The NABCF coordinates visits to middle schools by college basketball coaches, who speak on the importance of reading and academic achievement to motivate students to internalize the educational values of our college coaches and student-athletes. Participating students receive tickets to attend collegiate basketball games and invitations to watch team practices, in addition to reading-oriented incentives, for reading books outside the classroom. The rewards, along with the motivation of these role models and peers, help these middle school students identify with the goals and achievements of TTRR.

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