New academic coaching program launched at Frederick Douglass High


— NFL Player Engagement (NFLPE), the Family League of Baltimore, and the Academies at Frederick Douglass High School kicked-off the “1st & Goal” initiative on Thursday, September 26, 2013 on Douglass’s newly renovated football field to provide Douglass student athletes with support services that help them succeed in their academic, athletic and out-of-school lives.

“1st & Goal” is a pilot initiative funded by NFL Player Engagement and designed by the Family League. The initiative utilizes the philosophy behind NFLPE’s successful PREP platform to prepare, educate and support young student-athletes in all facets of their lives by promoting academic excellence and effective goal setting.

The innovative program was awarded to Douglass through a grant from NFL Player Engagement. The initiative provides a fulltime academic coach to support the football team with hands-on academic guidance, including tutoring and homework assistance. During the off-season, the academic coach will implement a life skills curriculum along with college access support.

“We are excited about this amazing opportunity to partner with such great organizations to enact change in the lives of young people,” said Dr. Antonio Hurt, principal of The Academies at Frederick Douglass High School. “At Douglass, we believe that our athletes must be students first, and this partnership affirms the comprehensive development of young men in the West Baltimore community. “

“‘1st & Goal’ demonstrates a perfect partnership between the NFL and The Academies at Frederick Douglass High School, a school deeply rooted in the community,” said Jonathon Rondeau, president and CEO of the Family League, which already provides a variety of services to Douglass students. “The investment places an emphasis on ‘scholar’ in the term scholar-athlete. We are hoping to affect positive educational outcomes while emphasizing how important it is for scholar-athletes to excel in all aspects of their high school career.”

“As a former player, I know first-hand the importance of learning goal setting as part of planning and executing for success,” said Harry Swayne, director of Player Engagement for the Baltimore Ravens. “We are pleased to have ‘1st & Goal’ introduced in our football town because it provides yet another opportunity to show the Ravens’ commitment to the youth of our community.”

“This program promotes NFLPE’s total wellness initiative for the participating student athletes and their families and demonstrates that athletics can act as a catalyst towards leading a successful and healthy life,” said former player and Super Bowl Champion David Tyree, who facilitated “1st & Goal” as part of NFLPE’s player support team.

More information about NFLPE’s PREP platform can be found at