Sports Business Academy: Re-Imagining Education
As a career educator and longtime high school principal, I was blessed to have an opportunity to make a positive impact on thousands of young lives. Leading a high school community was more than a passion, it was a calling and an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility. After all, our children’s well-being should be considered our most precious possession. I took great pride in our school, the integrity of our programs, the performance of employees and behaviors of students.
But I was also trapped in an unchanging system, legislated by legislators, regulated by paper pushers and directed by researchers who bring out new “best practices” regularly. All of these outsiders guide and push, demand accountability and design systems to lead schools; all experts who believe they know better than those on the front lines. I learned the principalship is the ultimate middle manager in our society.
This trapped feeling led my team to have deep conversations with students on the path to dropping out of school. Our goal was to listen closely to determine the root cause of where our system had failed them (we truly believe all kids can learn, we had failed them). We found an interesting progression: students don’t see the relevance in traditional learning, they begin to disengage from school and then lose hope in their future and drop out. Hmmm, common assumptions about dropouts didn’t hold true and the fault was ours. We needed to design an experience that ensured relevance, engagement and injects hope.
Enter the Sports Business Academy. A program designed to provide relevant learning experiences in the sports industry. Talk about high level engagement opportunities and hope for the future! I was a high school athlete and learning would have been so much more meaningful if they were aligned with my love of sports. I’m pretty sure that I would have taken a different path in life if I had been part of this program. Knowing myself, I probably would have thrived in analytics or sports marketing, although I would also have enjoyed the journalism learning. I probably would have been a better coach for the last 30 years if I had studied it in high school. I’m honored to be part of the SBA Board and excited to see SBA at Arvada High School grow and flourish! Stay tuned for updates and progress of this dynamic learning opportunity!
-Griff Wirth, Board of Directors