Dean Morgan Middle School Teacher Awarded $25K Grant for Afterschool eSport Program
Natrona County School Board Superintendent Michael Jennings recommends the NCSD Board of Trustees accept a $25,000 grant from the Wyoming Department of Education.
Lisa Shadrick from Dean Morgan Middle School has been awarded the Career and Technical Education Cutting Edge Grant.
If accepted, the funds will be used to start an eSports after school program and will include a tournament team at DMMS.
Per a memo from Jennings, the anticipated benefits of the program include improved attendance and grades, increased student engagement, and meaningful personal learning.
"This is a fun way to engage students with a STEM career pathway and career readiness through gaming. The grant will be under the direction of Lisa Shadrick, Vocational Education Teacher and Clay Cates, Principal" said Jennings in the memo.
ESports, for those of you who don't know, are video games that are played in a highly organized competitive environment.
A few years ago, a four-piece article was published in the Harvard International Review. They wrote that the rise in video games aimed at young people has begun to "create and control a host of new cultural trends" including their relationship with sports.
"Viewership of traditional sports is declining, while that of eSports is skyrocketing. The boom is so significant that almost every major popular video game on the market currently has some type of pseudo-professional circuit (yes, even Farming Simulator 2019)."
The nation is beginning to see a rise in eSports programs in K-12 schools. Some educators believe competitive gaming engages students and prepares them for a variety of careers in STEM. Research finds that students who participate in eSports also develop soft skills, such as teamwork, good sportsmanship, strategic thinking and leadership.
Last year a public school in New Jersey welcomed 24 gaming stations for students to compete online.
“They weren’t going to be the standout football player or bat .400 for the baseball team, but this gives them the opportunity to be a standout in eSports and gives them the same sense of pride" said the Superintendent, Bernard Bragen.
If accepted, the grant will be under the direction of Lisa Shadrick, a Vocational Education Teacher, and Principal Clay Cates.
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