We run a unique Sports Youth Development League (SYDL) that was developed to support the social-emotional development of its youth participants. Extracurricular activities have a positive impact on students’ behavior, state exam scores, attendance, classroom compliance, and social/emotional development, all of which contribute to aspects of wellbeing and successful completion of school. Participants exhibit more pride and drive while performing tasks that elicit acknowledgment, praise, and rewards, thus promoting additional self-esteem, confidence, and school connectivity. With this in mind, we developed an SYDL for boys and girls that reach over eight schools in Northern Manhattan. Our success is driven by the ongoing communication between the classroom teachers, parents, and coaches. While all 4th and 5th grade students can tryout for their school’s sports team (Basketball or Baseball), we emphasize identifying and recruiting those students in need of additional social/emotional support.
“It builds a unity and has allowed me to help students find an outlet.”
PS115 Coach Chavez
To promote optimal academic/social performance and social-emotional learning opportunities through structured extracurricular activities.
- Develop skills in goal setting and goal attainment
- Develop and increase the utilization of positive peer/adult relationship behaviors
- Develop and increase the utilization of healthy lifestyle practices
- Develop and increase the utilization of positive stress management skills
- Reinforce and improve classroom compliance and academic outcomes
- Enhance and improve social skills
Our SYDL includes eight schools in Northern Manhattan. It consists of a Boys and Girls Basketball League and a Co-Ed Baseball League. The schools participate in weekly games, typically held during the last period of the day on Fridays. To ensure we meet our program goal:
- We invite teachers to complete a student recommendation form to advise coaches which students could most benefit from participation in our league. To prevent the stigmatization of the targeted population, we welcome non-referred students as well
- Classroom teachers are asked to complete a brief survey on the players level of classroom compliance and behavior during the season
- Teachers may also be asked to complete a brief mental health symptoms checklist to determine if a player is in need of further support
- Each player is engaged in goal setting and goal attainment. Players review their teacher’s survey with the coach, identify 2-3 areas needing improvement or personal goals and measurable steps to obtain those goals. The card is signed by the player, parent, and teacher
- Participation in the games serve as an incentive for players to reach their goals
- A 10-week mentorship group for targeted students is held during school hours. It focuses on healthy-lifestyle practices, problem-solving skills, goal-setting/goal attainment, and leadership skills
Incentivized trips are held throughout the year: (i.e., college tours, Carnegie Hall, Yankee Stadium, Chelsea Piers, Coogan’s 5k run, U.S. Tennis Open).
Our data has shown that students enrolled in our SYDL, have maintained or improved in classroom compliance, social performance and attendance.
“It goes beyond sports and education, they feel comfortable coming up to us and talk to us about any problems they’re having.”
“The intervention track is amazing: it hits all facets of what they should be as role models and students in the building.”
PS189 Coach Diogenes