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Gridiron tactics

To build super kids, St. Louis-area schools are getting help from some super athletes.

The St. Louis Rams professional football team, fresh from its Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans, is garnering a different kind of attention in a character education video and curriculum guide produced in partnership with local schools.

The Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, an educational consortium of 47 member districts that provides services and technology to 490 schools, used a grant from the Rams Foundation to produce the materials for 5th, 6th, and 7th graders.

Called "Get Into the Game," the videotape features Rams players Marshall Faulk, London Fletcher, Torry Holt, and D'Marco Farr discussing respect, responsibility, and personal goals.

The team invited local high school athletes to a premiere of the video in December, and several players and a cheerleader spoke to the teenage athletes.

High school students in some districts then took the same messages back to elementary school pupils.

In the 3,500-student Jennings school district that borders St. Louis, high school athletes used the video to teach younger students about respect.

"It was really kind of a self-realization" for the older students, said Terrie O'Neal-Schroeder, a former school nurse who is guiding the Jennings High School program.

Younger students enjoyed the video and the attention paid to them by the high school athletes, she said.

Linda McKay, who oversees character education for the cooperating districts, said she is attempting to obtain a new supply of the videos. Her first 500 ran out quickly.

"Our hope is that communities will do this all across the country," Ms. McKay said.

More information is available from the Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis at (800) 478-5684, ext. 4523.

—Alan Richard

Vol. 19, Issue 22, Page 3

Published in Print: February 9, 2000, as Take Note

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