Growing up in Olympic City USA has its benefits, and at least one district in Colorado Springs is taking advantage of them and incorporating them into their curriculum.
“We teach based on three concepts: friendship, excellence, and respect,” PE teacher Justin Jergensen said.
Over the past two years, teachers from every classroom at West Elementary have integrated the Olympic Value Education Program.
“We live in such an amazing place, with all these resources, that we want to make that connection so that our kids grow up knowing those Olympic values,” Operations and School Outreach Director Christine Baldwin said.
To reward the students, they bring in actual Olympians to connect with the kids.
“We had a skeleton bobsledder come one time, and then we had a Paralymic basketball player come,” Jergensen said. “And so just to see an Olympian face-to-face really gives them this connection and connectivity to Colorado Springs and the Olympic Training Center.”
One lucky pair of students is selected to visit the Olympic Training Center.
They don’t have to be the best athletes. They just have to exemplify the values of an Olympian.
“So that they’re the champions in the classroom,” Jergensen said. “They’re the champions in their families, for themselves, as well as in PE classrooms. Because not all of our kids are going to be athletes. But they all have a place. They all have something to contribute to their classroom, their schools, and to their world.”
The program is being implemented across District 11, but it’s not exclusive to that district. It’s a citywide program that they hope all schools will be using in the near future.