Coaching up the coaches: Dysart confident plans in place to lessen parent concern on experience

In addition to Dysart Unified School District basketball teams, district athletic director Jim Dean said coaches of spiritlines such as Shadow Ridge, above on Aug. 17, 2018, grow with the opportunity to travel out of state. District spiritlines often travel to nationals in Anaheim, Calif. [Courtesy Dysart Unified School District]

Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

The change may not be tangible enough to register yet on a district-wide parent survey, Dysart Unified School District leaders believe the level of coaching at its schools is improving and recent changes implemented will only enhance the coaching community.

Dysart surveyed parents, students and employees about many aspects of the district. Results presented to the DUSD governing board June 12 were largely positive from all three groups.

Additional training for coaches and club sponsors was among three topics parents listed as opportunities for growth.

“That type of information will get back to all of our schools, on what type of additional training we can have for coaches,” board member Traci Sawyer-Sinkbeil said during the meeting.

Right now, it is a bit difficult to drill down to specific sports or even schools parents are referring to. While district athletic director Jim Dean said the survey included comment boxes, but most of the information reported was based more on multiple choice survey answers.

And the coaches referred to may not be on the more well known high school staffs — or even school sports coaches, as after school club sponsors were included.

“The survey was not specific to middle school or high school neither specific to the level of coach. The trends that we see in the survey mirror our commitment to athletics; continuing to build the capacity of our coaches to provide extraordinary experiences for our athletes,” Dean stated in an email.

In all, 1,785 parents took part including from elementary schools. However, the three schools with the highest number of parent responses were the high schools in Surprise — Shadow Ridge (266), Valley Vista (261) and Willow Canyon (177).

Dysart Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis said the next step is to drill down to each campus.

“The school level is really where the details would be important. It would be a school-specific plan,” Kellis said during the meeting.

Kellis and Dean also said recent decisions at the district level are bearing fruit with the overall quality of sports instruction.

Dean said the district continues to work to hire the best possible coaches to build championship level programs, and to provide training opportunities for district coaching staff to increase their ability to prepare athletes for ultimate success.

“Our coaches are doing an excellent job of working to build championship level athletic programs for our athletes and our community. They continue to build their capacity to train athletes and prepare them for high level competition. We are also looking at ways to compensate our coaches for year round practices and training,” Dean stated.

The compensation issue cropped up in the last two years at the high school level with the Arizona Interscholastic Association allowing year-round practice for every sport.

Dean stated the addition of athletic classes in 2019-20 will improve the quality of coaching. Athletes and coaches will work together each day to build their skill set.

While these classes are led by on-campus teachers, some coaching jobs and staff positions will incorporate local club coaches.

“In order to meet our goals of having championship programs, our coaches must have all of the tools available to prepare our athletes to be championship ready. That includes coaches that are both on campus and club coaches. We want to work to develop the potential of our athletes through our programs both in and our of school,” Dean stated.

Dean stated that district coaches continue to work to improve their skills.

It is up to the district to provide facilities, programs and experiences to make those top-level coaches want to stay.

“Retaining coaches is about working to meet their needs as they work to meet the athletes needs. For example, if our coaches need equipment and training facilities, we need to provide them in order to be successful,” Dean stated. “It’s also about providing a championship atmosphere and experience for our athletes. For example, Valley Vista High School girls basketball team has been invited to play in an elite tournament during next season in California. The Dysart High School and Valley Vista boys basketball teams is finalizing details to play in a tournament in Las Vegas. Our spiritline teams are always contenders in the national cheer competition in Anaheim. These opportunities provide our athletes and coaches incentive to continue to increase their talents and competition level. We are looking to build athletic programs at a championship level in all sports.”



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