Hispanic Heritage Month: USTA, Stephanie Waterman Foundation Bring Tennis to KCK Public Schools
September is National Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the rich culture and vast contributions of the latinx community in the U.S. USTA Heart of America is ethnically diverse and home to cities, such as Kansas City, with large, thriving hispanic populations. As such, we strive to bring tennis to these communities so they can share in all the fun and community our sport is known for.
Since 2021, USTA Missouri Valley has partnered with Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools (KCKPS) to bring tennis (and tennis equipment) to students who otherwise might not get introduced to the sport. From the start, representatives from USTA Missouri Valley trained physical education teachers in the basics of tennis, and immersed them in the USTA Net Generation curriculum, so they were well prepared to teach tennis to their students.
Lindsay Hall, community play manager at USTA Missouri Valley, explains how the partnership started, and where it’s going from here. “The partnership has evolved over time as tennis needs and interests grew from tennis in the Physical Education classes,” she said. “We started the process back in 2021 where USTA Missouri Valley came in to train KCKPS physical education teachers to help build the teachers comfort level and confidence delivering a tennis unit in the PE classes. We walked them through snippets of the K-12 Net Generation curriculum, where we reviewed grade-level outcomes, large group management skills with a tennis focus, and buildable game and skill progressions for all grade levels, all while the teachers had the opportunity to practice and play utilizing age-appropriate equipment to create a successful tennis unit for both them and their students, whatever the student’s tennis skill level–and teacher’s comfort level–was.
“Setting the teachers up with a solid foundation is key to helping to create a positive experience from the start,” Lindsay continued.
As interest in the program grew, a partnership between USTA Missouri Valley, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, and the Stephanie Waterman Foundation (SWF)–specifically Executive Director Scott Hanover and Christine Scharenberg, Kansas City, Kansas, Physical Education Instructional Coach–was born to help support even more schools and students in the area. Lindsay has nothing but high praise for Scott and Christine, who have dedicated so much of themselves to help make the program a success..
“From there, we worked with Scott to further support the schools at a local level,” said Lindsay. “Scott’s done a great job asking questions and listening to the teachers to find out what challenges and successes they’re having in the ‘live’ tennis unit when there are large classes sizes of energetic kiddos!
“Also, since KCKPS is such a large school district, Scott and Christine were able to work together to locate schools for after-school programs,” Lindsay continued. “Scott’s passion, skill set, and experience is an extra layer of support for the teachers and students on a whole new level!
“USTA Missouri Valley continues to support and foster the relationship between Scott Hanover, at Stephanie Waterman Foundation, and Christine Scharenberg with KCKPS through online resources, grants, equipment, and various support as needed,” said Lindsay.
USTA Heart of America thanks Lindsay, Scott, Christine, and all the teachers and administrators of KCKPS for helping create a safe and healthy environment that helps foster a love of tennis and learning. We appreciate all you do for the children in our community.
If you’d like to learn more about the partnership with KCKPS, check out this article from 2021 by USTA Heart of America Tennis Service Representative Jaren Glaser. For more information on the Stephanie Waterman Foundation, which strives to “provide under-resourced inner-city youth with brighter futures through free tennis, life skills, and enrichment programs,” click here.