Why new sports fields are important in OKCPS
The start of the school year is just around the corner, and in Oklahoma City Public Schools, the new year brings lots of change. Under the district's Pathway to Greatness program, implemented in the spring, several schools will be shuttered and others will be shuffled as the fall semester begins.
Eight middle schools and high schools are among the shuffled.
That change may be difficult.
But Fields & Futures is committed to make some of that change positive. As I wrote in Wednesday's Oklahoman, the nonprofit is working on new athletic fields at all of those newly formed middle schools and high schools in the district. Since its creation in 2012, it has averaged three to four fields a year, so this is a significant uptick.
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Why push so hard to do so much?
Deserae Jackson is the principal at the new Wheeler Middle School. In taking over the building that used to be Wheeler Elementary, her school will be getting a new football/soccer field from Fields & Futures followed in coming months by a track, softball field and futsal court.
I'll let her explain in her words why these fields are important:
Seeing the massive amount of work being put in and knowing how pumped the students are has been really exciting. The commitment of Fields & Futures and the companies working endless hours has been amazing.
The students have been ready to start practicing since they found out we were changing to middle school. Sports is such a positive outlet for kids, and with us merging several schools together, it’s the ultimate team builder and will serve as a way to make this transition a smoother one.
Sports help keep the kids motivated, well behaved and in attendance. They need the structure that being on a team provides. New fields at the school means new opportunities for the kids in the area. It gives them a place to be after school and exercise that they most likely wouldn’t get going straight home. I envision kids getting plugged in, finding mentors through their coaches that they will keep for life.
I picture so many smiles that will be earned through hard work, some defeat and determination.
I want my students to learn that being on a team isn’t just about sports but it’s about life and that they’ll use the discipline they learn from sports to succeed in all future endeavors.