Playworks North Carolina is proud to announce the newest member of our Coach of the Month “Wall of Fame”- Kia Robinson. Kia is an AmeriCorps member and this is her first year serving as a Playworks coach. Already, Kia has done an amazing job creating positive change at W.G. Pearson Elementary School in Durham, and for that reason we are celebrating her as our January Coach of the Month!
Coach Kia has done an outstanding job transforming the behaviors of the students at her school. Right from the start of the school year, she took the time to implement strong recess procedures — and they are paying off. Students know her expectations from the moment they line up at their classrroom doore, to when that final recess whistle blows. Her students do an amazing job taking a knee once they get to a station at the beginning of recess, which really helps Kia identify which students are not getting engaged and allows her to learn more about her students in general. As you can imagine, because of this, Coach Kia has formed some great relationships with many of her students. Something else that makes Coach Kia’s recesses extra strong are her bright and clearly outlined boundaries throughout the playground space. She spends time in the morning chalking her recess playground (and listening to her music!) so that she is prepared for each and every recess. All of these strong recess procedures are paying off throughout the school in a big way. In fact, the principal at W.G. Pearson Elementary recebtkt commented on how behavior issues have decreased and mentioned that she has been seeing a positive difference in entire grades’ behaviors.
To increase the amount of positive sporting behavior on the playground, Coach Kia will sometimes give the students challenges to see which recess game station can get the most High Fives and “Good jobs,”or the number of RoShamBos (a tool similar to “Rock Paper Scissors” that the children can use whenever they find themselves having a disagreement during a game) she can see. Recently, Coach Kia’s Program Manager, Janelle Averill, witnessed a great interaction among the children because of this challenge:
“I was at the Wall Ball station that day and they were counting the High Fives that were being given out. It was already at about 100! However, when they got there, one student yelled out ‘But we have no RoShamBos, Coach Janelle!’ I laughed and then explained to him how that was a good thing because it meant that everyone was getting along and playing the game by the rules.”
So, not only are these challenges fun for Coach Kia’s students, but they are also helping to create an environment where children are focused on support and encouragement while they play!
Coach Kia has a top notch Junior Coach (JC) program. The group has been very strong since the beginning and they are continuing to improve. The JCs are very comfortable running games and making sure their peers are following all of the recess expectations. They encourage the other students and are always giving out High Fives during recess and even at the end, when the students walk back into the building. Coach Kia checks in with her JCs outside of their regular monthly trainings and leads good check in and check outs with her JCs that allows her to maintain a great relationship with each one. She has done a great job developing them all into leaders.
All Playworks coaches have high energy – but Coach Kia takes it to the next level. She is always walking around her school with a smile and can often be seen laughing and talking to all members of the school – staff, administration, and (of course!) students. Also, the cheers and chants that she does with her students have become somewhat of a legend around the Playworks NC office, with her program manager constantly coming back to share with everyone what outstanding cheer Kia did that day at recess.
Coach Kia truly embodies what it means to be a Playworks coach and has succeeded at finding the perfect balance between earning respect from the students while still having tons of fun with them.
Way to go Kia, thanks for all your hard work!
Get to know Coach Kia:
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part about my job is seeing the growth of my kids everyday. They have matured each day I come to school. I also love the faces that my kids have when they see me coming in the building or outside. It is always good when you have indoor recess and your kids ask why you didn't come to their class. It makes my job that much better to know that your kids are missing you.
What is your favorite sport to watch? What is your favorite sport to participate in?
I like to watch basketball and football. I love to participate in softball.
What do you like to do to relax/have fun?
I like to go get my nails and hair done and shop on a relaxing day and I am such a big kid at heart so I love to just go to arcades for fun.
What Playworks core value are you most drawn to and why?
Respect is my favorite core value because without Respect in your program it can be messy and also make your job a lot harder.
What is your favorite Playworks component and why?
I love my Junior Coach component the most because I am able to work with these students one-on-one with character building. I have built such a great relationship with my kids. It is great to see their leadership skills grow everyday.