eSports in Kansas schools are experiencing a remarkable surge in popularity, as evidenced by the national achievements of teams like USD 340.
This growing trend is about fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among students. As high schools across the state embrace competitive gaming, they’re witnessing firsthand its impact on student engagement and success.
Kansas high schools have rapidly embraced eSports, a trend mirroring the national rise of competitive gaming. USD 340, a participant in this movement, has set a precedent with its eSports team, which has gained national recognition and achieved top rankings in various gaming tournaments.
A case study in eSports excellence
At the heart of Kansas’ eSports success is USD 340. The school formed its eSports team at the start of the school year, quickly surpassing all expectations. With 18 of its 50 members qualifying for national tournaments and the team securing the number one rank in a major game nationwide, USD 340 has become an example of how eSports can thrive in a high school environment.
Alan Dick, director of eSports for USD 340, says:
“We have 18 students in our team of 50 that have qualified for the national tournaments in their games. And we had, for the entire season, been the number-one-ranked team in one of the games that’s been played in the whole nation.”
Educators and students recognize the myriad benefits, including improved social skills, enhanced teamwork, and increased student engagement. Schools report a noticeable improvement in attendance and GPAs among students participating in eSports.
This aligns with national trends, where 70% of Americans engage in video gaming, pointing to the significant potential of eSports as a tool for student engagement.
Mark Ferrer, the Principal of New Diana High School, emphasizes the role of eSports in providing students with meaningful engagement opportunities.
He notes that their goal is to have students actively involved in campus life rather than merely being present. eSports offers a new avenue for involvement that Ferrer views with pride, considering its positive impact on student engagement and campus dynamics.
Herman Brister, the Director of Southern University Laboratory, expresses excitement about incorporating eSports into the interscholastic athletic program. He recognizes the widespread popularity of gaming and sees the introduction of eSports in education as a significant step forward. This initiative aligns with students’ interests and allows them to compete for championship titles and earn college scholarships, integrating gaming with educational and career prospects.
eSports as a community builder
One of the most significant impacts of eSports in schools is its ability to create community among students. In Kansas, schools like USD 340 have noticed that eSports gives students a common interest to rally around, fostering friendships and a sense of belonging. This mainly benefits students who might not be involved in other extracurricular activities, offering them an avenue to connect and collaborate.
Per familiar sources, for eSports programs to be effective, they need structure and guidance, much like traditional sports. This includes the development of eSports coaching, which is crucial for honing in-game skills and reinforcing valuable life skills like leadership and problem-solving. Schools increasingly recognize the need for structured eSports clubs and coaching to maximize student benefits.