|2015 Winter League Bulletin
The League's seasonal magazine has once again been sent to all members schools. We've posted it online as well if you'd like to read about happenings at the League and around the state as we gear up for Winter Tournaments.
|Coaching for Change
League advances education module addressing sexual harassment and violence against girls
Long before the advent of current public and media attention to accusations of violence against women by some high profile National Football League players, the Minnesota State High School League began the process of developing educational curriculum to assist high school coaches with educating their athletes about the problem of violence against teenage girls.
The curriculum is one of several educational modules that all coaches working with athletes in grades 9-12 must take. It is titled Coaching for Change: A Game Plan to Prevent Violence and was created in partnership with the Sexual and Domestic Violence Council of Anoka County, Men as Peace Makers, the Gender Violence Institute, and the Men's Action Network. Funding was provided by a grant from the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
The module was available for fall sport coaches this year and thus far nearly 9,000 coaches have completed it, with an additional 15,000 recipients expected by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
"Sexual and domestic violence are difficult topics to understand and discuss, and there are few coaches who are trained to deal with these topics effectively," explained Jody Redman, associate director of the League. "If we expect coaches to challenge the current status quo and immerse their programs in a counter-cultural belief system, we must provide them with consequential and ongoing professional development and support so they are prepared to address these issues effectively."
The goal is to create a heightened awareness of a team's culture and the social norms that are shaping student athlete's attitudes and behaviors related to teen dating violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. With this increased awareness, coaches can positively impact the lives of their athletes.
Coaches will learn basic strategies that will help them address these tough issues as they arise and proactive approaches they can use throughout the year.
The education module first introduces coaches to the socialization of boys. Former NFL defensive lineman (Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions) Joe Ehrman narrates this portion of the module, including what he dubs the three scariest words that every man has heard in his lifetime: "Be a man!"
Ehrman, the author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives, a book whose principles form the framework for the League's Why We Play initiative, explains that boys are taught to separate their heart from their head. He believes that boys and men measure their masculinity based on three myths:
1) Boys learn by ages 7, 8 or 9 that masculinity is measured on the athletic platform by their ability and skills, their size and their strength.
2) By the time boys reach seventh, eighth or ninth grade, many believe their masculinity must be measured by sexual conquest.
3) And later in life, the primary measure becomes economic success.
"We need to reframe sports," Ehrman explains. "We need to redefine what it means to be a coach. We need to rewire the broken men who have separated their hearts from their heads. They've got to get connected again.
"And then we've got to do the preventive work, give every boy affirmations, validation of all of their feelings."
Although some forms of abuse may appear harmless, they indeed are not. The types of behavior that must be addressed can range from emotional abuse, to controlling behavior, to sexual harassment, to sexual assault, to physical assault.
Staggering statistics are offered. According to the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey and the 2008 Minnesota Crime Survey, one of every four teens have or will experience dating violence and that one of every five girls will become victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18, with that ratio increasing to one in three by the time they reach mid-life.
The preventive work is at the heart of the League's Continuing Education Requirement (CER) for coaches. This module, estimated to require just 45 minutes of a coach's time, presents a number of different scenarios that coaches could face, along with several options on how to respond, and then the most appropriate response must be chosen.
Coaches are encouraged to think differently about what they are teaching young people regarding honor and respect. There is no single right way to teach these values, they are told, adding that with any message that matters, they will need to find their own voice and deliver their message in an authentic way.
The appropriate responses to the scenarios presented always require immediate attention and usually face-to-face conversations with both perpetrators and victims. In some cases, issues must be referred to administrators, and in many cases referrals to counseling are paramount.
A number of possible proactive prevention actions are offered. Number one on that list is very simple: "Add respect to your team rules." Coaches of boys' teams are also encouraged to create this culture by supporting the success of a girls' team, or incorporate a female role model into a practice, game or team event, or host an event to honor the women important in the lives of the boys on their team.
"All who are involved in a student's education must understand the purpose of WHY WE PLAY and what we want students to acquire through participation," Redman adds, "which includes providing them with an environment where they are developing appropriate beliefs and ideals around their identity, sexual harassment and violence."
|District Football 2015-16, 2016-17
League adopts District Football scheduling plan for 2015 and beyond
Minnesota State High School League schools should no longer have a reason to travel far out of state to find football opponents or play less than an eight-game regular season football schedule. The League Board of Directors today unanimously adopted a plan that places all member schools with football programs into Districts. The members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts, and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.
For several years League staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular season football schedule. A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and Board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the Board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked hard to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.
"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."
The recommendation approved by the Board of Directors included:
Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
Bylaws to guide the work of each district
Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.
The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.
Districts will have initial meetings in the near future to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process. The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1, 2014.
"We are indebted to the members of the District Football Placement Committee for their diligence and hard work in this process," Merkle told the Board, "They put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and their focus was always on doing what was best for our member schools and their students."
To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click on the link below.
|Music Makes Us Whole
Music is the largest activity sponsored by the MSHSL, over 70,000 high school students participate in music annually. You can't miss the Marching Band at the Football game in the Fall, the Pep Band at the Hockey game in the winter, Show Choir Competitions, Musicals, Evening Concerts, before and after school rehearsals and Solo and Ensemble contests. Music is everywhere in our schools and the MSHSL would like to join MMEA and Classical MPR in supporting Music Makes Us Whole.
Did you know that students involved in Music:
Have almost a 10% higher GPA than students not involved in activities
Are absent roughly 2 less days per year
Have improved ACT scores in Math and English
Gain valuable life skills like teamwork, communication, and problem solving
Are more well-rounded whole learners
Music Makes Us Whole is several dozen Minnesota non-profit and for-profit organizations that believe every child deserves a rich music education. We advocate for this because of music's intrinsic value in the human experience, but also for the whole-brain and whole-life benefits to the child and his or her community.
Join us in supporting Music Makes Us Whole in your community, the 70,000 plus high school music students thank you.
|A Standing Ovation For All The Super Kids In New Prague
|Posted by John Millea(email@example.com)- Updated 1/29/2015 4:54:47 PM
|I received an email from New Prague superintendent Tim Dittberner earlier this week, alerting me to a very special event. The email included this statement: “The kids at New Prague are very inclusive to all kids within the student body -- no matter what their differences or abilities are.”
I’m certain that statement holds true every day in the halls and classrooms at school, at sporting events and everywhere students gather. It’s clear that they care about each other, based on what I witnessed Wednesday evening in the school auditorium.
This is Snoball Week at New Prague, which includes dress-up days (Safari Day, Camouflage/Flannel Day, etc.), a pepfest and a dance. Wednesday’s big event was the coronation of Snoball royalty, and it was something special.
Five senior boys, five senior girls and an equal number of juniors had been chosen as candidates. Two seniors would be named king and queen, with two juniors being named prince and princess.
The ceremony began with a slideshow featuring baby/toddler photos of each candidate and their answer to a question. This was great fun. Some examples…
--Q: What’s your favorite pickup line? A: “You must be Google because you have everything I’m looking for.”
--Q: Who is your favorite teacher? A: “Our school is filled with too many good ones.”
The candidates were introduced, talented juniors Alexis Solheid and Jacob Hurt did a wonderful job of singing “I'll Be (The Greatest Fan Of Your Life)” and the coronation followed.
The queen was Kristy Bendzick and the king was Kevin Bastyr (pictured here). The princess was Sarah Oxborough and the prince was Goy Kang. Kevin has cerebral palsy and Sarah is cognitively impaired; there was thunderous cheers and a standing ovation as they were crowned.
The other candidates were seniors Owen Guthridge, Lauren Bixby, Aric Becker, Sarah Goblirsch, Drew Schoenbauer, Hanna Maddaus, Ryan O'Rourke and Madison Frerk, and juniors Ebenezer Chinedu-Enh, Leah Bissell, Michael Knoer, Julia Bartusek, Matt Ademmer, Madison Schmitz, Frank Bartyzal and Brianna Ellanson,
Kevin Bastyr is well-known as the No. 1 fan of New Prague sports. When the Trojans boys hockey team went to state last year, they gave Kevin a jersey with his name on the back. When the hockey team holds Senior Night at its home game against Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato on Friday, Kevin will be recognized.
“He never misses a football or hockey game, no matter the weather -- home or away,” Dittberner said.
Tony Buthe, a former New Prague football coach and the district’s director of educational services, said “Kevin’s relationship with all the student-athletes is great. They just love him. And he loves to talk sports with any peer, but also any coach or teacher. He is the epitome of what New Prague schools is about. He’s just a super, super kid.”
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 293
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 6,503
More of John's Journal