(Palo Alto, CA) — Universal Tennis, the premier global tennis platform and the company behind the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR); and ICL Academy, an online school for 7th-12th graders launched by education experts from the Dwight School and the Institute of Civic Leadership, announced today a partnership to establish the Universal Tennis School.
The first-of-a-kind academy will be a full-time online private school for young student athletes (grades 7-12) who are pursuing tennis, and will commence virtual classes this September. It leverages ICL Academy’s platinum-standard curriculum focused on student engagement through a personalized, blended approach that combines academics with tennis training.
“We have long recognized the importance of education for all players to achieve their goals on the court and in life,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “As more and more students pivot to online learning due to COVID, we are pleased to launch the Universal Tennis School in partnership with ICL Academy to offer aspiring tennis players the ability to dedicate themselves to tennis and to their education in a highly personalized, flexible and high quality environment.”
The Universal Tennis School is uniquely suited to address the needs of a competitive athlete by featuring an overall first-class education with real teachers, personalized instruction, live courses and self-paced learning. In addition, students will have access to expert college counseling for guidance on college pathways, along with invaluable connections with tennis coaches, professionals and fellow student-athletes.
“Education and supporting kids, especially young inspired tennis players, are a real passion of mine! Blending great education with tennis and character training is the ideal combination for any young person.” said Tommy Haas, former World #2 and Tournament Director at the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open.
Former tennis champion and ICL board member Monica Seles noted, “I have been a supporter of the Institute for Civic Leadership for a long time. Its vision and focus on the character of each and every student extends far beyond tennis. ICL Academy is fundamentally about providing student athletes necessary life skills and preparing the next generation of tennis players with the tools for success.”
“The Universal Tennis School has special meaning for me,” said Kirk Spahn, founder of ICL Academy and fourth generation educator, who previously founded the Dwight School in Manhattan’s Dwight Global online program and the Institute for Civic Leadership, a nonprofit that for 20 years has inspired, educated, and supported a new generation of youth civic leaders to take positive action in their local and global communities.
Kirk comments further, “When I was in high school as a top ranked tennis player, I faced a difficult decision of pursuing my dreams of playing professional tennis, or attending an elite prep school that would prepare me for an Ivy League Education. No student athlete should have to make a decision between a first rate education and their dreams, and the Universal Tennis School will enable talented young players to achieve at the highest levels academically and athletically.”
The partnership with Universal Tennis comes amidst a series of new ICL Academy partnerships in recent up weeks with leaders from across industries such as tech, sports, and the performing arts, including Draper University to create a Tech Entrepreneur Academy, Independent Arts Entertainment, and Bode Miller and the creation of ICL Winter Sports Academy.
About Universal Tennis
The mission of Universal Tennis is to make tennis more affordable, accessible and fun for all players, regardless of age, gender, level and socioeconomic status. The UTR Engagement Platform is anchored by the Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) Powered by Oracle, the world’s most accurate singles and doubles tennis rating system; and provides the tools and solutions to make the Universal Tennis Rating relevant and valuable to players, coaches and organizers in their local domain. Universal Tennis is creating opportunities and pathways for players from all over the world, in all stages of life, to find better matches and unlock a more fun and flexible tennis experience.
About ICL Academy
ICL Academy is a private online school for grades 7-12 that aims to solve many of the problems facing both in-person and online schools by focusing on student engagement through a personalized, blended approach that combines academics with personal passions. Its founder Kirk Sphan is a fourth generation educator and has more than 20 years specializing in digital education and youth civic engagement. ICL Academy is powered by 150 years of academic excellence from the Dwight School, and its online program Dwight Global, and builds on the track record of success of the Institute for Civic Leadership, a nonprofit founded in 2001 that has inspired, educated, and supported a new generation of youth civic leaders to take positive action in their local and global communities.
ICL Academy also partners with industry experts who serve as master teachers, and has recently partnered with Olympic Alpine Skier Bode Miller to create a Winter Sports Academy for student athletes, famed VC investor and founder of Draper University Tim Draper to launch a technology and entrepreneurship academy, Independent Arts Entertainment, and Universal Tennis. Over the years, ICL has partnered with industry leaders such as former NFL player and TV personality Michael Strahan, author Malcolm Gladwell, and musician and artist Alicia Keys, among others, to provide learning opportunities for students.
To learn more and enroll in ICL Academy, visit http://www.iclacademy.org.