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Quantum to join forces with Big League Book Club

Two camps look to mentor students and become part of the curriculum

North Toronto’s Big League Book Club is getting a new teammate.

Quantum Sports Learning Association is going to play Kyle Lowry to the book club’s DeMar DeRozan.

The two tutoring programs focus on teaching subjects to students through sports. While the book club, helmed by former Toronto District School Board trustee Patrick Rutledge, focuses on literacy, Quantum will provide the arithmetic.

That means the Three Rs of Education will get nothing but net from students struggling at the post secondary level.

Rutledge met managing director Dave McNee, and academic director, Claudia Mandekic, while referring Quantum’s adult basketball league and he was impressed by the student volunteers who shot videos and kept statistics.

“I asked them what their long-term goals were and they said they wanted to increase exposure to the community for the tutoring that they do,” Rutledge recalled, during an early February phone call. “Sports keep kids in school, but they still don’t have the success that they should have.

“What these guys have introduced is a sports element that gives the kids a chance to play and learn.”

Quantum joined the book club’s summer camps at Oakwood, and the result was LeBron James-sized praise.

McNee said he couldn’t be happier with the progression from an organization that had humble beginnings in 2011. McNee came from a sports background, and observed there was a huge disconnect with some students who were more drawn to sports.

Mandekic joined him, as she was out of teacher’s college and struggling to land a position. They started a co-ed basketball league, and from there nothing but net.

“It’s a stepping stone. We know we have a long road ahead,” McNee said, of the process of joining with the book club, as well as getting a boost from Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment’s LaunchPad program.

Quantum combines traditional basketball drills with math equations. For Pythagorean theorem, they’ll dribble the ball in a triangle and count how much they dribble for each side of the triangle.

“A lot of the time, you’ll see people do the math separately from the sport,” Mandekic said. “We want the students to realize that math is nothing to be intimidated about.”

As for the Lowry-DeRozan duo of the tutoring world, they’re hoping it’s long term, and expansion is in the books. There’s also hope they can provide students with school credits.

“(Rutledge’s) coaching manner is the same philosophy as ours: try to make sure we’re mentoring the students. We’re coaching them to be good people. To pass the ball. To play as a team.”