Imagine a presenter before a group of educators who announces that she has developed a program that will motivate children to strive their utmost for many hours every week and keep their passion and attention levels high; that it will teach them leadership skills as well as how to work effectively in teams; that they will learn how to discipline themselves and motivate others; that, through an iterative process, the program will teach students how to turn failure into a motivator to reflect on and pursue continual improvement; that the students will gain a deeper understanding of strategy, civility in competition, cooperation, psychology, and improvisation amidst rapidly shifting circumstances; and, what is more, the children will consider all of this fun, a part of every school day many of them most look forward to.
Our hypothetical presenter might be hailed as an educational genius who has found a profound means to instill many key 21st-century learning and leadership skills while inculcating student satisfaction and motivation.
Imagine, though, that our presenter then reveals that she has, all this time, been talking about a good school sports program.
All of these benefits, and more, accrue to students every day through well-run, value-informed athletics, which is why sports must continue to be funded in our schools and seen as core contributors to student success in today’s world.
Jim Tracy is Head of School at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI.