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High Schools

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Partnership to train 421 FWCS coaches

– Having one of the largest school systems in the state has always brought challenges for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

One of them involving athletics has been consistency in its coaching among the district’s middle and high schools.

FWCS has taken a step toward uniformity by forming a partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance and former Wayne standout and NFL punter Jason Baker.

“(Superintendent) Dr. (Wendy) Robinson has seen a need for coaches to be on the same page with our athletes,” Miami Middle School Principal Adam Swinford said. “Through this partnership, it is going to give our high school and middle school coaches training that they need that in the past, we haven’t given them. It is going to give them ways to handle players, ways to handle parents and ways to be consistent with what we do in Fort Wayne Community Schools.”

Swinford is the commissioner of the middle school athletic conference and worked with Northrop athletic director Bob Shank on the project.

Through a scholarship from Baker, all 421 FWCS middle and high school coaches will gather in August at North Side for a presentation with the Positive Coaching Alliance.

“They are going to train us and give us the tools to help work with our student-athletes,” said Swinford, a former athletic director at Wayne. “It is a great opportunity for us because (for) a district this size, it is hard to coordinate this, and the coaching alliance is going to do that for us – normalize things and keep everybody on the same page.”

It will include all coaches in grades six through 12 in FWCS, including those who also teach and those who don’t.

According to its website, the Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

“That is a byproduct of … the Positive Coaching Alliance’s presentations (at Baker’s coaching clinic) the last six years; (FWCS) saw that and heard that and we need more of that. How do we get involved in that,” said Baker, who also has an annual players’ clinic each year at Wayne.