Written by Cory Chimka
On Saturday, Sept. 8, nearly 100 eager DC SCORES Soccer and Writing coaches crammed into the cozy café-torium of Truesdell Education Campus. Truesdell principal Mary Ann Stinson welcomed everyone to the school before DC SCORES Executive Director Amy Nakamoto revealed to the rapt crowd that this was in fact her favorite DC SCORES day of the year.
With welcomes out of the way, I got the coaches up and moving with a team-builder during which everyone shared the experiences they would bring with them to coaching soccer and writing this season. New coaches immediately felt and communicated that they were being initiated into a rare and elite fraternity of on-the-ground youth workers implementing Washington, DC’s largest and highest quality after-school program.
Associate Program Director for Quality Sean Hinkle stressed the importance of teamwork, leadership, commitment, integrity and sportsmanship, along with respect for the game, all the while making sure coaches knew that having fun is at the root of the DC SCORES model.
During team planning time, soccer and writing coaches from each of DC SCORES’ 42 schools this fall collaborated in creating shared goals and expectations for their students, and planned strategically when each component of the DC SCORES curricula would be delivered.
For the second half of the day, soccer and writing coaches parted ways. In a studio upstairs, writing coaches created their writers notebooks, explored the America SCORES Power of Poetry curriculum, and flexed their poetry muscle writing a Color of Me poem and composing their own love song. They practiced team-building games and did improvisational activities with new DC SCORES Elementary School Program Coordinator Anna Cohen-Price.
On the field, representatives from the U.S. Soccer Foundation schooled new soccer coaches on their Soccer for Success curriculum, which is being implemented at 15 new DC SCORES schools (blog coming later this week).
Back in the gym, veteran DC SCORES soccer coaches revisited the America SCORES Soccer Coach Manual. They shared best practices for structuring practices for all grade levels before breaking into groups AND collaborating to design a custom practice based on an assigned soccer skill area and delivering part of that practice plan to their coaching colleagues.
“I feel totally comfortable and ready to begin the writing sessions,” wrote one coach on her training evaluation.
“I feel more confident than I did last year!” wrote another.
“A+!. I wish I could have recorded it!”
DC SCORES is lucky to have only the very best of the best of DC Public & Public Charter School teachers implementing our program after school throughout the city.