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The DARE2XL After School Program was developed by Dr. Donald E. Sheffield, President of TAME, Inc. (Techniques Assisting Motivation and Excellence). DARE2XL was the Winner Of The HUD "Best Practices" Award 2000.  At Penn State University, Dr. Sheffield serves as the Assistant to the Vice Provost for Outreach and Cooperative Extension and Affiliate Professor of Education in the College of Education.

Dr. Sheffield developed the idea for the DARE2XL Program and its Excellence Conditioning Model during his years as an academic advisor in the athletic department at Penn State as the administrative assistant to Joe Paterno.

The DARE2XL program was copyrighted under TAME, Inc. in 1991.

A High Performance Learning Experience For Students

Helping children and families achieve excellence and high performance is the major aim of the DARE2XL After School Study Program. The fundamental philosophy of DARE2XL teaches children and families how to Dream, Aspire, Reach, and Excel. These inspirational concepts as an educational pedagogy help children develop sound academic skills and positive values and behaviors through the development of practices that maximize performance and results in improved achievement.

In the DARE2XL program emphasis is placed upon the noncognitive or affective domain of learning and development in ways that promote culturally relevant learning, teaching, parenting, and educational partnerships. The effective integration of these concepts and approaches in the after school model develops and builds a culture of “High Performance” individuals, organizations, and communities.

As an innovative, research, and applied educational approach, high performance education strengthens and develops the fundamental learning skills that are essential for achievement and performance in today’s multicultural classroom and workplace. In addition, the DARE2XL experience helps to close the achievement gap of students of all cultural and economic backgrounds.

Program Goals

The DARE2XL After School Study Program is designed for students in grades 1-8. The goals of the program are to:

  • Promote self-esteem.
  • Make learning fun and exciting.
  • Motivate students to increase study time and skills development.
  • Transform and empower the students attitude toward learning and achievement.
  • Increase and improve the students performance in the classroom and home environment.
  • Involve parents, families, and communities in the educational experience.

Program Benefits

The DARE2XL program is designed to improve student academic achievement. Parents and teachers find that in addition to raising achievement, the DARE2XL experience helps students develop positive attitudes, behaviors, and skills that build excellence in both the school and home environments. The program provides:

  • Supervised study activities.
  • Mentoring and individualized time, attention, and practice assistance.
  • Integrated study behavior with academic and motivational activities.
  • “Best-practices” skills-building workshops for parents and teachers.
  • High performance strategies appropriate for any learning style.
  • Motivational activities that reinforce curricular objectives.

The DARE2XL Team & Program

The DARE2XL program consists of a staff of teachers, professionals, and pre-service teachers (education majors). The education major’s, as “future teachers,” help to provide a small ratio of staff to students, this allows for individualized help for the children, as well as a supportive, mentoring relationship and environment for both students and future teachers. Some researchers have found that teachers who have pre-graduate internships are much more effective in the classroom. They are better prepared to develop the essential skills and competencies needed to succeed in today’s diverse classroom. This small ratio of staff to students provides every student individualized Time, Attention, and Practice (TAP) which results in improved performance and achievement.

The structure and staffing of a DARE2XL Program may vary across the unique needs and mission of each school district. A typical day at the program includes arrival, warm-ups and snacks, motivation, academic study and mentoring, kool-down, motivation and recognition, and dismissal and departure.


All DARE2XL Programs are evaluated to determine if goals for individual student achievement and performance have been met. Throughout each program, data will be collected from various areas including parent and teacher surveys, academic records, attendance, and daily achievement instruments. The evaluation measures enable parents, teachers, and administrators to partner in the educational process.

Practice Makes Perfect - NOT!

Dr. Sheffield reveals the habit forming behaviors associated with repetitive actions. Click here to browse all parental resources.


Dr. Sheffield

A major emphasis of Dr. Sheffield’s work is helping parents manage the academic development of their children. Click here to learn more about Dr. Sheffield.

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