Elementary and middle school students across Spring Branch ISD are engaging in sports programs and attending high school athletic contests thanks to SBISD’s Advanced Movers program. The program was established in 2014 and has grown extensively throughout the past eight years. Annually, Advanced Movers has approximately 600 participants.
Advanced Movers introduces students to various UIL sports throughout the year. The students travel to SBISD high schools, Tully Stadium and Don Coleman Coliseum to experience the game day atmosphere and learn about the skills and characteristics needed to play. At Tully Stadium, the participating students get on the field and even get to high-five the high school players before games.
The games come at no cost for the participants and SBISD Athletics provides free transportation.
Leslie Wylie, Health Fitness director, notes that her favorite part of the program has been to witness the excitement of students and their families as they get the opportunity to cheer on the high school that they will eventually attend.
Rebecca Marr, Health Fitness teacher at Buffalo Creek Elementary, participated in Advanced Movers with her son, who was in fifth grade at the time.
“My son loved attending these games just as much as he liked attending professional sports games,” said Marr. “He saw his potential when he watched the older high school athletes compete. He also learned the value of ‘no pass-no play,’ so he kept his grades up.”
The Advanced Movers program partners with the community to engage students in sports activities. Organizations including the Brenda and John Duncan YMCA and the Dad’s Club provide Learn-to-Swim lessons to SBISD elementary students. The Brenda and John Duncan YMCA also teaches the four basic swimming strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly) to middle school students from Northbrook Middle, Spring Oaks Middle and Spring Woods Middle at the W.W. Emmons Natatorium every morning.
“Playing sports should be accessible to everyone,” said Paige Hershey, SBISD Executive Director of Athletics. “Unfortunately, sometimes the lack of resources proves to be a barrier. That’s where Advanced Movers comes in. Our partners allow our students to engage in new experiences that expand their minds.”
The Spring Branch-Memorial Sports Association and SpringSpirit are also very involved with SBISD Athletics and provide a variety of sports teams students can be a part of.
“Advanced Movers gives students different experiences and promotes their social-emotional skills,” said Pamela Thompson, assistant director of Health Fitness. “It not only encourages them to be active, but they also learn how to be good team members.”
The program also promotes the district’s T-2-4 vision by introducing students to colleges and universities.
“Many of our students have never been on a college campus,” concluded Hershey. “Advanced Movers allows them to get familiarized with college and helps them understand that higher education is attainable.”
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