Kids on Course is a nonprofit program of the Zach Johnson Foundation, in cooperation with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Kids on Course provides tutoring, enrichment, parent engagement strategies and health supports to put students on course to graduate college. Each child reaches his or her academic and individual potential through creative and inventive opportunities that connect students and families to the community, schools, and higher learning. Kids on Course is currently based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at three elementary schools: Grant, Harrison and Van Buren, and two middle schools: Roosevelt and Wilson.
Kids on Course staff are placed full-time in the schools. This allows us to meet students where they are academically, learn each school’s culture, and collaborate with school staff on a daily basis. Because we are on the ground-level, we are able to build long-lasting relationships with students, families, and staff.
Kids on Course provides a cocoon of supports to wrap around students: addressing barriers, engaging families, enrichment, and supporting academics. We work with school staff and community partners to ensure our schools are not just a place of learning, but also a haven for students to thrive academically, socially, and mentally.
Our promise doesn’t stop in elementary school. We are committed to seeing our kids graduate from post-secondary education. Kids on Course is designed to follow students that start with us in elementary and support them along the way, including the opportunity to earn a college scholarship.
Kids on Course is a dream of Zach Johnson and his wife Kim. He was born in Iowa City, and raised in Cedar Rapids. He took up golf at age ten and honed his skills at Elmcrest Country Club. In 2003, while playing on the Nationwide Tour, Zach won twice and topped the money list with record earnings. Topping the list automatically qualified Zach for the 2004 PGA TOUR. His 12 wins on the TOUR include the 2015 Open Championship and the 2007 Masters. He is the first player ever on the PGA TOUR to win his first two majors at Augusta and The Old Course at St. Andrews.
With all of the success Johnson has experienced over the last decade, he has stayed connected to his roots. “While I like winning golf tournaments, I enjoy helping kids and families in need even more. I feel like I was put on this Earth to do more than chase a white ball around a golf course,” he said. Zach and Kim are founding members of the Zach Johnson Foundation, which fully funds Kids on Course.
Married in 2003, Zach and his wife, Kim have three children, Will, Wyatt, and Abby Jane. They now reside in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
IMAGE CREDIT: (left) Images of Grace Photography (right) Joe Photo
Doing whatever it takes so students achieve their dreams and succeed.
Connect schools and families to community resources to ensure that students are physically, socially, and emotionally ready to learn.
Provide an avenue through which families can be positively connected to school and the community and engaged in their student’s learning.
Provide academic support and resources to teachers, parents, and students to ensure a clear path to graduating from high school and college.
Collaborate with artists, athletes, and creatives to improve student’s self-efficacy, resiliency, academic achievement, and engagement in school.
Kids on Course served 862 students from Van Buren, Grant and Harrison Elementary Schools
in some capacity during the 2014-2015 academic year. 352 of those students and their families
were actively involved in more than one initiative of Kids on Course.
This past summer 178 incoming 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders from Grant, Harrison, and Van Buren Elementary Schools attended our academic camp called Kids on Course University. The students made tremendous growth over our six week program: 13% growth in reading skills, 64% growth in writing skills, 111% growth in math skills.
In 2014-2015, 484 total students were involved in enrichment or another before or after-school activity sponsored by
Kids on Course. Many of these students would not have the opportunity to participate otherwise.
Last school year (2014-2015), AmeriCorps members tutored 39 students. Additionally, over 180 students received high-quality tutoring after school through Kids on Course. Kids on Course provided snacks and transportation to tutoring students, free of charge.
Over 250 people attended our November 2014 family clubs at Harrison, Van Buren, and Grant Elementary Schools. Every month, families come for a free meal, team-building activities, a small learning component, and lots of fun.
Additional mental health funding from the Zach Johnson Foundation provided individual and group therapy for about 15-30 students at our schools in 2014-2015. We are continuing this partnership with Tanager for the 2015-2016 school year so students will continue receiving therapy from a licensed mental health therapist at school every week, a service they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.