PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A partnership between the 23rd Street Armory and Philadelphia Youth Basketball has created a chance for students in the city’s school district to grow during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The students are learning from more than just textbooks.

Upstairs at the 23rd Street Armory, kids from across the city are in class.

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“Sitting at home is boring,” said eighth-grader Makayla Major. “I don’t feel like being home and plus I get to meet new people.”

Philadelphia Youth Basketball’s program for students from low-income families provides socially distanced mentorship in the classroom for fifth to ninth graders. It runs through the first marking period of the school year in November.

“We have temperature checks every day, mask wearing, social distancing where they can come go through their learning with a dedicated mentor coach nearby,” said Philadelphia Youth Basketball’s Pat McGuire.

The students have laptops and Zoom meetings, everything a kid in 2020 now needs to learn. But when the imaginary bell rings and it’s time for a little recess, you best not brick your shot at the books.

“Some kids who need help with math, English, writing, social studies, we have a basketball so we can do shooting or ball handling drills, things to keep them active while they’re still here,” said coach Kyle Garrett.

Philadelphia Youth Basketball says it’s crucial for mental and physical development for their kids to be able to engage with each other. So in between classes, they’ll run games on the ground floor of the armory.

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Garrett says after six weeks, he’s seen major changes in the classroom and on the court.

“It’s an environment where they’re starting to realize, ‘Hey, we can play basketball and we can do academics at the same time,'” Garrett said.

If you’re interested, you can sign up at


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