New St. Paul Public Schools partnership hopes to encourage leadership and positivity in school sports

Bringing good sportsmanship, leadership, and positivity to school sports: That’s the goal of a new partnership between St. Paul Public Schools and the Positive Coaching Alliance, or PCA.

If you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard stories about problems at high school games.  They can happen anywhere, and the pandemic didn’t help.

"We need to make sure that this is a good experience for the kids because they are struggling, they have been disconnected for a while," said Jason Sacks with Positive Coaching Alliance.

The Positive Coaching Alliance is a national organization that’s helping to change it up. Not through plays and routes but through leadership, teaching the coaches more than just the game.

"We’re focused on growth and learning and proving to be better athletes and better people," said Sacks.

Stepping up to the plate right now are St. Paul Public Schools. They thought its athletes could really benefit, understanding that "winning" isn’t just what’s on the scoreboard and that the whole community could benefit.

"Helping the students to understand they are leaders in their community and regardless of whether you accept it or not even though you’re a teenager people look up to you even the adults involved they follow your lead," said St. Paul Public Schools Athletic Administrator Monroe Thorton, Jr.

Thornton has seen it work firsthand. He was working in Florida and watched as PCA and Miami-Dade schools partnered up. He wants that same success in St. Paul.

"The sportsmanship aspect of it, the positive enhancing the positive culture and participating," explained Thorton. "There’s a will to win there’s a drive to win but then we don’t want to quote-unquote, win and all costs to the extent that we lose our character."

"Talking about resilience talking about bouncing back from adversity, teamwork things that they are using on the field, on the court, or in sports can carry over into the classroom and into life."

Right now, the workshops are optional for coaches and about 50 coaches participated in the first session. Thornton believes that the number will go up as the sessions go on throughout the year. There are about 800 coaches in the district.