We have an exciting new program at TDS this year — CAAEL (Chicago Area Alternative Education League). Used throughout the school day, CAAEL is intended to motivate students to come to school, complete their assignments, and behave appropriately. Through this organization, students in Therapeutic Schools have an opportunity to participate in interscholastic sporting and other types of events throughout the year, such as: basketball, chess, bowling, a spelling bee, flag football, volleyball, soccer, softball and more.
Patrick Cash, TDS Physical Education Teacher, who largely oversees basketball, has noticed CAAEL's impact on members. "The students love playing in these games, and because each game is earned through positive behavior and good grades, some students have really displayed an increase in motivation to work harder in school."
Davianna, a 7th grader, was recognized by the TDS coaches as a leaders and someone who exemplifies true sportsmanship. She received the "Blue Ribbon" award on numerous occasions for displaying the most positive and encouraging attitude among her teammates. When asked what she likes about CAAEL, she shared, "I love [basketball], and I also like that I'm with all my friends. We work nicely together and have a strong team. CAAEL gives us a break from whatever stress might be going on during our day to play basektball and have fun." Davianna also explained that practice is a time where she and some of the older students help the younger students learn basketball skills. "It's nice when we all get to practice together because we can encourage each other to do better and work harder." CAAEL also helps Davianna stay focused towards having a positive week. Sometimes it's hard to earn CAAEL. Becoming eligible can be a huge motivator that helps students stay on-track.
A 9th grade student, Jimmy, who plays basketball in addition to bowling and chess, enjoys CAAEL because it gives him the chance to do something he normally doesn't get to do. "I like CAAEL because it allows me to interact with people whom I don't regularly see. It gives me the added motivation I need sometimes."