How Esports Helps Students Improve Grades and Develop Leadership Skills

The Arena is the brainchild of Superintendent Bernard Bragen, who embraced esports when he discovered the educational and professional benefits of competitive gaming. He then explained the benefits to the school board and secured their membership to build the arena.

Long term, Bragen wants to expand the program by building an arena at the district’s second high school and turning esports into a team sport. He also wants to build an esports program. To get there, the district first launched an after-school esports club and arena at Edison High School. Since its opening, the arena has been a huge success, with 500 students joining the after-school club.

“From the start, the goal was to catch a segment of the population that didn’t participate in other sports,” says Bragen. “They weren’t going to be the baseball team’s standout football player or .400 batter, but it gives them the opportunity to shine in esports and gives them that same sense of pride.”

The district has experienced behavioral issues since students returned to campus after the pandemic; however, providing students with engaging activities like esports reduces inappropriate behavior, he says.

Through team competitions, Edison High School’s esports club has helped students practice teamwork, make new friends and develop leadership skills, says Ralph Barca, principal of the Information and Technology District.

From the start, a group of dedicated students showed leadership by getting involved and providing guidance to district leaders on what games they want to play and what competitions they want to compete in. Barca say that these highly engaged students even learned how to use the technology, including programming the lighting system.

They take pride in the space and help manage the equipment. “For them, it’s more than just a game,” he says. “They feel like owners and take care of the environment. He built a culture. It’s a gathering place where kids may have nothing else in common, but they do have play in common, and that’s powerful.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ESPORTS: Opportunities abound for female esports athletes in K-12 programs.

Polk County sees early benefits from esports pilot program

During the last spring semester, Polk County Public Schools in Bartow, Fla., created esports teams at six high schools as part of a pilot project to integrate esports into the district’s athletics curriculum.

When the athletic director and other district leaders learned about the benefits of esports, they embraced the idea of ​​incorporating esports into the physical sports program, says Dr. Laura Sawyer, team supervisor at PCPS instructional technology.

To support the teams, they built esports halls at each of the six schools, featuring high-end MSI computers, curved monitors, gaming peripherals and gaming furniture, says Resource Specialist Dr. Eddy Varela technology and district trainer.

The goal is to reach students who love games and may not be interested in other school activities. About 110 students serve on the esports teams, including players, team managers, and commentators who provide live commentary during tournaments.

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