Junior high, high school programs

The RISE Leadership Program is designed to empower sports administrators, coaches and athletes to be leaders in discussing and addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity within their teams, schools and communities. Our multifaceted program increases awareness, builds skills and creates safe spaces to have difficult conversations. Junior high and high school participants learn about the history of race and sports, the power of sports to drive change and how they can become leaders in improving race relations.

Programs at the junior high and high school levels cover an array of topics and skills. Topics may include dimensions of diversity, identity, implicit bias, microaggressions, racial ideology, athlete activism, racial imagery and terms in sports, race and social media, influence of media and sports as a vehicle of change. Skills covered may include trust, reflection, perspective taking, empathy, asking questions, leadership/influencing others, conflict resolution, active listening, teamwork and critical thinking.

We often take a train-the-trainer approach to the junior high and high school leadership programs. Administrators and coaches are trained to facilitate our curriculum with their teams, strengthening the capacity of the organization. Prior to the start of each sports season, coaches attend a RISE training session where they are provided with details on the season’s topics and skills, along with step-by-step instructions on how to facilitate the activities for each module. Coaches return to their schools prepared to lead the program with continued support from RISE.

As a part of each sports season, RISE evaluates participant satisfaction, knowledge, attitudes and skills. Student-athletes, coaches and administrators complete a survey prior to and at the completion of the program. The information gathered helps RISE identify best practices and establish trends that inform future programming and research.

Making an impact

Analysis of data from fall of the 2016-17 school year revealed that high school participants improved their knowledge and understanding of race-related concepts over the course of the 10-week program. The student-athletes also reported increased confidence in their ability to talk about race and intervene when witnessing discrimination.

More specifically, of the student-athlete participants:

  • 95% said they are culturally competent.
  • 92% said they have the skills to have difficult conversations about race.
  • 94% said they would intervene if they saw someone being discriminated against.

Student-athletes’ attitudes also were positively impacted during the RISE Leadership Program. For example, participants improved attitudes in relation to racial equality, their interest in participating in diverse social and cultural activities, and the extent they felt diversity impacts their own personal growth. Additionally, student-athletes indicated that they were more accepting of others and that participation in the program broadened their perspectives on race.

The RISE team, along with the coaches, teachers and administrators, are encouraged by these results. The data and insights gained each sports season have been used to enhance the curriculum and expand programs across the country.

Getting started with RISE

From a 10-week program for a team, a yearlong curriculum for all athletes in your athletic department or a clinic for coaches, our team is equipped with the expertise to support your school or organization’s needs.

Download pdf about these programs

For more information about junior high and high school programs, email us at education@RISEtoWIN.org.