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Pingry to Host Impactful NJAIS Coaches Workshop on DEI in Athletics

On Monday, August 23, 2021, Pingry Athletics will host the annual New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) Coaches Workshop, and although it will be the fifth year since Pingry's Director of Athletics and Community Wellness—Ms. Carter Abbott—founded the event, Monday's workshop will have added significance, as participants will be discussing topics that go well beyond athletics.

The guest speaker at this year's NJAIS Coaches Workshop will be accomplished former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athlete and coach Dr. Jen Fry, whose firm, JenFryTalks, specializes in creating communities of belonging. This notion of belonging, which is a key component of Pingry's pillar of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, has become a priority in high school curriculums all over the country, but it is seldomly applied in the context of high school athletics, which is a space where education may be needed most. 

Athletics coaches are often some of the most impactful figures of a student-athlete's academic journey—spending as much time, if not more in some instances, with student-athletes than a faculty member would (when considering daily practices, games, bus travel, etc.). Additionally, athletic competition often comes with a wide range of opportunities for formative and/or emotionally charged situations, from the ecstatic celebration of scoring a game-winning goal, to the disappointment of making an error at the end of a devastating defeat. 

Also important to take into account is the timing of most athletic events and activities—the conclusion of the school day—a time when either exhaustion or excitement, as well as other emotions, tend to be higher for many students. 

According to Ms. Abbott, this timing, coupled with the opportunity for impact, contributed greatly to the planning of Monday's workshop.

"Some of our student-athletes encounter their most impactful experiences with belonging and inclusion as members of sports teams," Ms. Abbott said. "It's on those teams where they truly begin to understand what it means to not only be accepted, but also to accept others and create space for them to feel like they belong in order to contribute to the success of the team."

The NJAIS Coaches Workshop with Dr. Jen Fry will take place via Zoom on Monday, August 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. All NJAIS coaches are welcome to attend. Pingry's head coaches are required to be in attendance and assistant coaches are strongly encouraged to join. 


Contact: Alex Nanfara, Communications Department