HighFIVE: Kelli Weinreich
Kelli Weinreich, a physical education teacher at Buffalo Ridge Elementary, is bringing the lifetime sport of tennis to her students
When Kelli Weinreich planned her 5th grade PE curriculum at Buffalo Ridge Elementary in Castle Pines last year, she included a tennis unit because she “wanted to give my students real world exposure to tennis with the opportunity to practice on real courts with tennis pros.” The program was a such a success, that Kelli implemented it again this year and recently wrapped up the tennis unit with a field trip to Parker Racquet Club for 93 5th graders.
Giving the kids exposure to tennis is important to the New York native who says “I didn’t play tennis growing up, but it always interested me, but it wasn’t easily accessible. Most people who played tennis where I grew up were country club members.”
In only her third year at Buffalo Ridge Elementary, Kelli has already made a strong impact on the kids through tennis. Kristy Jenkins, USTA Colorado School Tennis and Net Generation Coordinator says “Kelli is a stellar physical educator who recognizes the importance of introducing her students to individual sports in addition to team sports! She has been a tennis advocate in her classroom and beyond, utilizing the USTA School Tennis curriculum, equipment, and her community partnership with Parker Racquet Club. “
Kelli worked directly with Craig Marshall, Director of Junior Tennis as Parker Racquet Club, to help facilitate the program. The tennis unit is a week-long and there are four 5th grade PE classes, so the program lasted a month at the school. “Craig would come to the school each Wednesday to help the kids during class,” explains Kelli. Through the USTA School Tennis program, the school has 35 racquets. For the field trip, they brought these racquets with Net Generation and the Parker Racquet Club providing the remaining 60 racquets.
“The field trip is a great culmination to the tennis unit,” says Kelli. “Craig and his team taught the kids warm-up skills, played games (small court singles and doubles), and ended the day with awards and bracelets. The day was fantastic and one my 5th graders look forward to.”
One of Kelli’s goals with the program was to “show my students the benefits of learning a lifelong sport. Tennis is something you can play way later in life and it’s a great way to stay active. I hope this experience sparks a passion in some of them for tennis.”
While only two years into the program, it seems that Kelli’s goal has been achieved. “I know a few of last year’s 5th graders enjoyed it so much that they participated in summer programs last year. A bunch of my kids this year have already told me they want to try a camp or lessons this summer.”
With such great results, we’re sure of two things: Kelli is sure to have continued success and there are a bunch of 4th graders at Buffalo Ridge Elementary who are excited to be part of the experience next school year.
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