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WA Athletic Coaches to Take Part in Anti-Racism Workshop

The Woodstock Academy Coaches to Take Part in Workshop

The Woodstock Academy athletic coaching staff will take part in a Positive Coaching Alliance workshop entitled “Sports Can Battle Racism” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14.

“I think any time we can provide education to address the importance of diversity, inclusion, and the attempt to reduce bias related to athletics is incredibly important,” Woodstock Academy athletic director Sean Saucier said. 

The workshop coincides with the stated Woodstock Academy school goal which is “Faculty and staff will work together to gather data and expand our knowledge in order to develop a plan to improve equity and inclusion and reduce bias.”

Woodstock Academy head of school Chris Sandford said it is important for the school’s coaches to take part in that effort.

“Some of our most important educators are our coaches. We need to educate students in areas like leadership, collaboration, and partnership, ideals that are usually connected with an athletic program. We want to make sure the coaches have the same background and training that the Academy’s teachers are getting,” Sandford said.

The PCA workshop consists of three concentration areas over the course of the two-hour, interactive virtual presentation.

The first is to improve coaches' focus on creating a caring environment including the ability to listen for understanding and to have empathy for athletes of color. Coaches will be encouraged to give those athletes a chance to validate their feelings, experiences, and reality including the ability to share those with their teammates.

The workshop will also remind coaches to build character by practicing gratitude; work with them on how to be involved in a solution rather than be just a bystander when injustices are observed and to encourage acts of service.

The final section will be a commitment to action including an individual plan to neutralize one’s own inherent bias; a call to evaluate team, league, and individual athletic departments when it comes to issues like potential institutional racism and to become a role model for anti-racist behavior. 

“I haven’t decided what the next step with PCA will be, but we’re excited to start with this workshop for all of our coaching staff. There will be another workshop in the future, likely the summer or early fall. It could be targeted toward coaches or student-athletes or parents or it could be everyone. We’re hopeful that will able to be in person rather than virtual,” Saucier said.


The Woodstock Academy is an independent, day and boarding, co-educational, college preparatory high school for grades 9–12 and postgraduates located in Woodstock, CT. The mission of The Woodstock Academy is to prepare all students by providing diverse opportunities through a rigorous curriculum and a variety of programs in order to cultivate the necessary skills to become lifelong learners and global citizens.