Athletic character medals added to school district’s elementary program
–This year, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) added the Athletic Character Medal to the elementary athletics program. Each week’s practice includes teaching students about a particular athletic expectation for behavior: safety, respect, responsibility, encouragement, and doing your best. At the end of every game on Fridays, teams huddle together to determine which member from the opposing team best demonstrated a character trait. Representatives from the teams explain why that student should be recognized and then present a school medal from their team. The character medals are funded by the Rotary Club of Paso Robles and ACE Promotions.
Superintendent Chris Williams views this as an extension of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program in all schools. “We believe it’s important to teach students not only about physical movement in athletics, but also character, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Our schools have done an outstanding job in teaching behavior expectations on campus through our PBIS program and this takes the program from our classrooms out into our extracurricular activities.”
The Paso Robles School District was the first district in San Luis Obispo County to provide a free, comprehensive athletic program for elementary schools. Students in grades three through five have the opportunity to participate in sports such as cross country, wrestling, and track and field. Also available for students in grades four and five are volleyball, basketball, and soccer. Teams practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school and compete on Fridays. All athletes are provided uniforms and transportation to and from games. School district Athletic Director, Rich Clayton, explains that the purpose of athletics at that young age is to “allow all students the opportunity to develop character, compete in a safe environment, and experience the feeling of being on a team while also learning how to play a sport.” Last year, nearly 800 elementary students participated in after-school sports in just the second year of the program.
The first season of elementary athletics is wrapping up. The district championships for girls’ volleyball and boys’ and girls’ cross country will be held on Fri, Oct 13, beginning at 3 p.m. at Paso Robles High School. Practices for wrestling will start on Oct 17. For more information or to inquire about joining a team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a packet at any school site.
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