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ACES Program to Start in October

September 26, 2022

Starting in early October, Northfield students in grades 6-8 will have the opportunity to participate in an innovative after-school program that boosts foundational academic and life skills through projects and games.

ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students) will serve up to 50 students, providing project-based curriculum and learning experiences that bring math and social-emotional learning to life through the lens of sports. The program starts Oct. 17 and will operate Monday through Thursday from 3-4:45 p.m. at the Northfield Middle School.

The program is free and is open to all students, said Nadine Bartolo, the ACES site coordinator for the middle school. Registration has begun, and enrollment will continue throughout the year as space is available. Parents can register their students online here. Paper registration forms are also available in the school’s front office or from the math teachers.

“Students don’t have to like sports or be athletic to be in the program,” Bartolo said. “Since we are sponsored by lot of Minnesota teams, our curriculum has a sports focus, but we’re not talking about sports the whole time nor do we obligate students to participate in sports. It’s supposed to be a hook, not something to discourage them.”

ACES has been in the Twin Cities since 1994 and is supported by every major Minnesota professional sports team. The Northfield pilot program is its first expansion into Greater Minnesota and is a partnership with Northfield Public Schools and Healthy Community Initiative.

The ACES curriculum is based on Minnesota state education standards and focuses on real-world applications; for example, students might calculate surface area and volume while completing a unit on stadium architecture. Social-emotional development is also emphasized, as students practice leadership, teamwork, and goal-setting skills.

Bartolo said the Northfield ACES site is working closely with the Middle School Youth Center. The daily schedule will include snack time and 30 minutes of homework help followed by an hour of working on math and social-emotional skills. Students will work with an academic coach in small groups of 10-15. Benjamin Bus will provide transportation afterward to seven locations in Northfield; parents can also opt to pick up their students.

The program is still hiring part-time academic coaches to work with the students. The coaches will receive training and will work 14-20 hours per week. Aspiring teachers, youth workers, college students, and recent graduates are encouraged to apply at

For more information about the program, contact Bartolo at

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