Coaches’ blog – stories from the schools

  1. Updates

William T. Machan Elementary School – Coach Paul

Xavier is a fun-loving six grader at Machan Elementary School.  He has great hands on the4-square court and a killer shot in knock-out. Along with his love for playing games at recess, Xavier also is smart.

Each day at recess this past fall, Xavier would come to me asking if he could have a shirt – only the brightest minds recognize how awesome Playworks t-shirts are!

So, one day, I made a deal with Xavier. I spoke with his teacher and found some areas in which he could improve academically and told him if he got a “meets” or “exceeds” on his next math or reading test, then I would get him a Playworks t-shirt.

Sure enough a few weeks later, Xavier – enticed by the prospect of being one of a handful of kids to earn what can only be considered as Playworks gold – dominated his math test just like a game of 4-square. Now every Friday when kids are allowed to dress down, out of their school uniforms, Xavier wears his green Playworks shirt with pride making Xavier deserving of a nice big boom clap… 1, 2, 3 (clap) – BOOM!  

Pan-American Charter School – Coach Latesha

Mark is a wonderful example of how a setting expectations and finding new roles can make a difference to the child and to the school. Mark came to Pan American Charter School with some challenges. He would get annoyed very quickly and had a constant issue with another student.

When junior coach (JC) recruiting came around, Mark asked me if he could be a part of it. I told him that I would have to speak with his teacher first. Before I got a chance to speak with the teacher, I heard from other students why he might not be the best fit for the program.

I sat down, had a one-on-one conversation with Mark, and learned he had transferred from a school where the kids had bullied him and he felt angry. I asked him what made him happy.

“Tell me one thing that you love to do?” I asked.

"Ride my bike, but my tire is messed up and play basketball but I lost my ball,” he responded.

We agreed that if he made an effort to have a better attitude I would give him a basketball. He agreed and I gave him a basketball right away. His face lit up and he said "Thanks Coach!"

The next day I checked in with Mark and I asked him “how is your day going?”  He said "good."

Four months later Mark has played on the Playworks volleyball team and Mark and the other kids together on the yard instead of talk about each other. Mark has asked me everyday this week "Is there a spot on the junior coach team?”

My response is "of course".

Mark is one of the happiest kids I know. I'm very proud of him.

Playworks is a highlight of Pan American Charter School because we create a positive, fun and safe environment to prevent negative behavior. Students understand that they can get exercise through play and also learn other skills such as conflict resolution. Students also understand that having fun has no boundaries Playworks creates a safe space for children to be themselves and they don't have to be judged. High-fives are always a highlight of the day. 

More Updates


March 25, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Physically Distant with No Equipment ›

As more and more schools transition back to in-person learning, we know educators are looking for games that are physically-distant and don’t require equipment. The need for play is more important than ever due to the isolation that our kids have endured during COVID-19. Play encourages creativity, flexibility, teamwork, and other critical social skills. We’ve…

March 12, 2021

Playworks: One Year Later ›

One year ago… All of our partner schools closed their buildings and our work serving kids in schools risked coming to a halt. We knew our mission had to continue. We remained committed to providing opportunities for joy and connection through play for kids in a COVID safe way, regardless if their school was virtual,…

December 15, 2020

Top 6 Games to Play Virtually ›

Many educators have risen to the challenge of transitioning their lessons to accommodate virtual education, and Playworks has been helping educators ensure play remains in every child’s day, even online. Kids prioritize play, and with our support educators are leveraging play when teaching virtually in order to keep kids engaged, active, and to build community.…