In the summer of 1985, Athletic Director Scott Kennedy was in Paris Island, South Carolina for Marine Corps boot camp. While there, a chap- lain told him, “If you find a path that has no ob- stacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Scott delivers the same message to his student-athletes at French American International School, who are challenged every day to stay committed to their sport while successfully managing the rigor
of our academic program. “Through the obstacles we are
building a foundation for success—on the field, in the
classroom, in life. The entire community is committed
to building a positive, fun, yet challenging environment
to develop in students a sense of pride, belief in oneself,
ownership, and belonging,” said Scott.
Under Scott’s direction, participation in the athletics
program has grown 11% from the 2014-15 season. As a
result of increased interest, the program added JV Girls
Basketball and Soccer teams last year. “Increased student
participation is very much at the heart of our mission.
Being part of an athletics program allows students to
feel connected to and engaged in something beyond
the classroom. There’s a positive correlation between
involvement in athletics and academic achievement.
Student-athletes are engaged, accountable, and able to
learn time management by balancing schoolwork with
practices and games,” explained Scott.
Striking a balance between athletic responsibilities and
academic pursuits is significant, but Scott also encour-
ages participation in other school programs, including
theater, music, the arts, or global travel. “I encourage
students to take the opportunity to go to Malawi or
India; global travel is an incredible learning experience.
Sports can be put on hold for a moment while that edu-
Scott and his team also work with students on com-
munity service projects, as another valuable piece of
their overall educational experience. In conjunction with
the San Francisco Unified School District and our own
Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the department
held the first-ever Basketball Special Olympics at Inter-
national High School in February. The event provided
an opportunity for student athletes to raise awareness
and do good for others while earning their community
service hours during February break.
Over the course of the past year, the athletics department has developed a coaching education and licensing
program, requiring state coaching certifications, cardiac
and concussion trainings, and offering sport-specific
professional development opportunities. “We believe
the overall growth and development of coaches trickles
down to our players. The idea is that we are a community—of coaches, students, parents, and teachers—
working together, supporting and respecting each other.” Further to this, the department offered workshops through
the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) for student athletes,
coaches, and parents to learn how to be supportive on
the field and on the sidelines through sportsmanship and
positive behavior. They have also established a working
relationship with the Physical Education team to collectively work toward improving the health and overall
fitness of our student population.
Empowering Students On and Off the Field
LA LETTRE SEPTEMBER 2016 | 81
The High School Athletics Team:
SCOTT KENNEDY, SARA JOHNSON, AND IAN NOH