Playworks Massachusetts Teacher of the Month, Coach Dick

  1. Updates

Coach Dick Johnstin is a rock star Recess Coach at the West Somerville Neighborhood School in Somerville. This is the first year the school has partnered with Playworks and as soon as the opportunity arose, Coach Dick was more than happy to volunteer as the Recess Coach for the Playworks Team Up program. Coach Dick is enthusiastic about his role and makes sure that students have all the equipment they need to have a fun and inclusive recess. He is more than willing to listen to the Playworks Site Coordinator at the school and proudly implements any advice he is given. Previously the transition from lunch to recess at the school was hectic and loud, however Coach Dick now uses attention getters to make announcements in the cafeteria about what games will be set up at recess.

The Junior Coach program at his school has taken off and the students enjoy being selected as students leaders in the school. Coach Dick even has become a mentor to the cadre of 4th & 5th Grade Junior Coaches. He tracks their attendance, gives them advice about how to be patient and enthusiastic with younger students, and even helps coach them while they are out working. Coach Dick can be seen giving out high fives, greeting students as they enter the cafeteria for lunch, and he even jumps in and plays Banana Tag or Super Star Basketball out at recess! With his playful personality and dedication to mentoring at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, Coach Dick helps energize education for all.

More Updates


September 15, 2021

Creating an Inclusive Playground ›

When children feel included on the playground, it gives them the space to learn and grow in an environment that they know will celebrate their wins and encourage them to learn from their mistakes. As recently highlighted on NBC, health experts are stressing inclusion for school children, which is why we’re focusing on it as…

NE Team
NE Team

September 8, 2021

Playworks Goes Back to School! ›

We know how important addressing children’s emotional needs is to recover from the learning loss and trauma felt throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s where Playworks steps in. Over the past few months, we have been preparing for modified in-person programming with the intention of bringing an impactful, safe, and fun recess to every child in…

September 1, 2021

2020-21 Year End Report ›

Schools were closed. Sports were cancelled. Recess was still on schedule. Throughout the pandemic, Playworks has been a ready and willing partner to schools across our network, helping to redefine the role of play in the lives of students dealing with increased stress, trauma, and anxiety. The support of dedicated partners helped Playworks continue to provide…