This year, Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School hosted its first-ever Schools Partnership Program event – a basketball skills day. The 25 leadership students who helped organize the day hit nothing but net, for the day was a massive win for everyone involved!
What’s a Skills Day?
It’s a chance for students receiving special education to practice sport fundamentals – in this case, basketball skills. Not every student is able to play a full-blown game so skills days are great opportunity for these students to train and compete in sports. Even those students play a five-on-five basketball games benefit from skill development. Oftentimes, skills sessions are built right into Special Olympics competitions at the school level and in the community program.
What Was the Lacy Skills Day Like?
As we mentioned, this was Ingrid B. Lacy’s first event, but they surpassed all expectations! The students at Ingrid B. Lacy set up many different stations for the student-athletes – dribbling through cones, shooting at different areas on the court, passing through hoops and more!
The Lacy leadership students volunteered at different stations and helped student-athletes develop their skills! The leadership group also started the event by holding their own opening ceremonies and they did a great job!
Leadership also set up an r-word banner so the student-athletes, Lacy students and teachers as well as family members could take the pledge to end the r-word!
This means that people pledge not to use the r-word. It’s a great way to build awareness of how even the simplest of words affect people even when not meant as insult.
Not only was the gym was filled with student-athletes and student volunteers, but the energy was positive throughout the entirety of the event! Everyone was having a great time at the event and it was great to see the host school taking such ownership of the event.
New Experiences for All
Before the skills day, the teacher on special assignment for San Mateo County organized a Youth Summit for the Lacy leadership students. At a Youth Summit, students meet to discuss topics like: what Special Olympics, how to increase acceptance of all differences, how to motivate change and students create an action plan for their campus. It’s quite effective to hold them before hosting events because it sets the mood for a respectful and productive event.
At Lacy’s Youth Summit, many of the non-disabled leadership students mentioned they hadn’t interacted much, if at all, with their peers who receive special education. Recognizing that the students were stepping outside of their comfort zone, the best advice we had was to be respectful and stay present with each of the student-athletes.
The lack of prior interaction wasn’t a deal breaker at all for the Lacy students warmly welcomed their peers for the day. Not only did students modify activities and their instruction to meet the needs of the different types of students, but they also did so in a way that seemed second nature to them. By bringing this event to the students of Ingrid B. Lacy, Special Olympics provided students with a very unique learning opportunity.
The students have nothing but positive feedback about the event! The students who had no initial interaction with the students with disabilities learned a lot about their ability to create a safe, learning environment for their peers. Hosting the skills day challenged the leadership students to create better versions of themselves through their service. The students got to know each other and everyone had a blast!