Questions and Answers
What is the American Sports Institute?
The American Sports Institute (ASI), based in Marin County, California, is
a nonprofit organization that uses the principles and practices that work
in sport culture, physical education, and wellness to address personal,
social, and international concerns. ASI’s current focus is to use these
principles and practices to help transform America’s public-school
What's going on in our public schools?
America's public-school system is in trouble.
Student academic scores and health and fitness
levels are extremely low (with student overweight
and obesity at epidemically high levels), and
apathy toward academic courses is high. Hard data
are available to validate these concerns, including
the latest research showing that student engagement
is extremely low in academic classrooms. You can view some of this data by clicking here or on the Bad News link above.
is inescapable: There is something fundamentally
wrong at the core of our nation's educational
What qualifies the American Sports Institute to
be involved with education?
Since 1989, the American Sports Institute has been involved with
educational change. ASI conceptualized, developed, and pilot-tested the
curriculum; conducted teacher training workshops; and implemented a
train-the-trainers program for the Promoting Achievement in School
through Sport (PASS) program. PASS is a daily, yearlong, academic course
in which middle and high school students learn how to improve their
grades, behavior, self-esteem, and physical performance. This is done by
having the students set individualized academic and physical goals and
then work toward achieving these goals by applying the principles and
practices that work in sport culture, physical education, and wellness to
their academic and physical pursuits.
To date, approximately 4,000 students in California, Illinois, North Carolina, and South Carolina have gone through the PASS program.
The PASS program has been evaluated by researchers from the Mid-continent
Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL), one of 10 research
centers administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of
Educational Research and Improvement. In their report, the McREL
researchers state, “PASS addresses the needs of the whole learner—
intellectual needs, motivational needs, and other needs such as students’
physical and social needs . . . . making it a model for total school reform.”
In addition to being implemented in a one-period-a-day context, the principles and practices of the PASS program were applied across the entire curriculum throughout the full school day at a small, K-8 public school just north of Yosemite National Park. This included the implementation of an aerobics-based program for all students at the beginning of every school day.
As a result, and combined with other changes, the school increased its state test scores by 200 points over six years and was selected as a California Distinguished School. In the words of the principal, “One of the key findings from the (California Department of Education) evaluation committee was our commitment to aerobics every morning (his underline) and the PASS program woven throughout our daily school lives.”
Having created this model for total school reform in the context of a single academic course, and having successfully pilot-tested the full-school model, ASI is now in the developmental phase of applying this model to a larger school setting—The Arete School of Sport Culture and Wellness.
What is The Arete School?
The Arete School of Sport Culture and Wellness that ASI is creating is a pre-K-12 school that will apply the principles and practices that work in sport culture, physical education, and wellness to the entire curriculum and school setting in order to generate high academic scores, high health and fitness scores, and high motivation scores for all its students, including those from disadvantaged families.
How will The Arete School work?
The Arete School’s curriculum will focus on three major themes—sport culture, physical education, and wellness, including personal, social, and environmental wellness. These three thematic areas will be studied in a balanced and integrated manner through the arts, humanities, and sciences. In other words, sport culture, physical education, and the three dimensions of wellness will be studied through a balanced and integrated approach by using the disciplines of math, language arts, the physical sciences, the social sciences, and the arts. In addition, all students will receive Spanish-language instruction one hour per day.
How will The Arete School be structured?
The Arete School will be a tuition-free, privately funded, community-based
school that will act like a public school. In order to be free of the
federal, state, district, and union regulations that have created the
current problems in our public schools and to avoid compromising its
chances of being successful, The Arete School will not receive
government funding. At the same time, The Arete School will be tuition-free
for all students so it can operate like a public school and still be
perceived as being different from a standard private school.
The Arete School will be comprised of an ethnically diverse group of pre-
K-12 students and families, and an ethnically diverse staff. The School
will be open from early morning until late in the evening, and will operate
on a year-round basis. Parental and community involvement will be
integral to the School.
The Arete School will start with 50 kindergarten students the first year and add 50 additional kindergarten students each year thereafter until it is a fully functioning pre-K-12 school. Beginning with the first year, approximately half of all students will be from low-income, minority families, most of which will be Latino.
How will The Arete School be funded?
The Arete School will be funded annually through
private sources, including contributions from
individuals and foundations, and special events.
This means the American Sports Institute must
raise the tuition for every child every year.
Where will The Arete School be located and when
will it begin operating?
The Arete School will open in Marin County, California, in August 2015.
What about accountability at The Arete School?
Accountability will be a major focus of The Arete
School. With the latest preliminary research already
validating The Arete School’s principles
and practices, the School will be engaged continuously
in research studies. The School will constantly
monitor itself to validate that which is working
and change that which is not, and outside researchers
from respected institutions will conduct independent
studies on the School’s effectiveness.
How will The Arete School impact the public-school
In order to create awareness about what it does and influence the public-school
system, The Arete School will use the internal and external
research studies as resources to conduct workshops, seminars,
presentations, conferences, symposia, etc., for current and prospective
educators as well as those from other institutions and the general public.
As has been done in the past, this will include presentations to members
of the California Legislature as well as state and local education officials.
Eventually, The Arete School will serve as a model for transforming
America’s public-school system and be a certified, public-school,
teacher-training and resource center for educators across the country
and around the world.
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