Program Design (Cont.)

Greetings Reader!

Updating you on my previous posts, I have just finished writing a full piece of curriculum for the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation! The lesson plans that I have written are for a career guidance and adult skills workshop series designed for recent high school graduates who have not yet decided on a college/career path. While some of the lessons are geared more towards skill development, the first two lessons on career guidance are designed entirely using theoretical frameworks that I learned here at GSE!

In designing the program, the goal that the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation gave me was to create a series of eight monthly workshops with the goal in mind that the participants in the program (recent high school graduates who also coach hockey for the foundation) over the course of a year begin to conceptualize a path for themselves. Additionally, the program is designed to give them tangible professional skills such as interviewing skills, as well as adult skills such as budgeting and financial literacy. With this broad scope, the goals of the program are to not only help the coaches visualize and achieve their life-goals, but also to help transition them from high school seniors to autonomous adults. As you may have experienced yourself, we can all appreciate the notion that reaching the legal age of adulthood and becoming an adult are very different things (some of you reading this may even be uncomfortable calling yourself an adult!). In unpacking some of these mysteries, the hope is that even if these coaches have not found their exact path over the course of a year, they will at least have the tools and knowledge necessary to eventually find their path one day. When they do find their career path, hopefully some of the other skills that the program is designed to teach them will help them finance achieving their goals while also giving them the skills to be successful at getting jobs that they want and being successful in those jobs.

We are planning to launch a condensed version of the program next month, so I hope to have some updates for the first lesson soon!


Program Design


Since my last entry, I have been charged with developing even more curricula for Snider Hockey! While I am still developing the post-graduate program, I am also developing a professional development program for new coaches who will be hired by Snider Hockey, as well as an event program.

As mentioned earlier, Snider Hockey hires alumni from its program to coach hockey. While some of these coaches do not have post-secondary plans yet (my current area of program focus), a number are currently enrolled in college and will be working part time at Snider Hockey. The organization has decided that it would be beneficial to provide these new coaches with an orientation before they work with children. While a component of this orientation will focus on the daily responsibilities of being a coach, there will also be a component on professional skills that will help them for when they move on from Snider Hockey. I have been charged with writing three workshops that focus on professionalism, preparation, and mentorship, respectively. These programs will include panel discussions, team building activities, and even a tour of the Wells Fargo Center (where the Philadelphia Flyers Hockey team plays)! The goal of this training is to teach new coaches some of the soft professional skills that are unique to Snider Hockey, as well as other skills, such as basic time management skills and personal care, skills that may be new territory to them as young adults.

I have also been assisting Snider Hockey with developing their curriculum for Willie O’Ree Day. Willie O’Ree holds the distinction of being the first African American (from Canada to be exact) to play in the National Hockey League. He is still involved with civil rights issues and one program that he has partnered with is called Hockey For All, which seeks to allow everyone to play hockey regardless of socio-economic status. This focus is an important part of Snider Hockey’s broader mission, and the organization will be hosting a day when young hockey players from all over the country will come to Philadelphia to play hockey. Additionally, a co-worker and I are developing a series of tours and activities in Philadelphia that will teach these young players about leadership. The main focus of these programs is to show the participants that leadership is not something that someone is born with, nor is it a title that is awarded to the person who is loudest or (think he/she) has all the ideas. The goal in teaching them about leadership is to underscore that the most powerful leadership traits one can possess relate to respect for others and a willingness to fill whatever role is necessary to achieve goals. It is an exciting opportunity and, needless to say, I have greatly enjoyed my internship and have been gaining more exciting opportunities every day!

All the best!

Curriculum Design


Despite being on winter break, I have been continuing my internship at the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. Being able to focus on my internship full-time, I have been able to come up with a number of interesting projects that will be very meaningful to my career development. This has included preparing a writing curriculum from scratch for a new program!

The new program in question is a post-graduate program for Snider Hockey alumni. As mentioned in previous entries, Snider Hockey offers academic support programs to students, in addition to the opportunity to play hockey at no charge. Besides helping students academically, Snider Hockey offers post-secondary counseling and helps students gain admission to colleges and find post-secondary plans. However, there are a small percentage of students who graduate from the program without having developed their post-secondary plans. Snider Hockey has decided to extend their services to these graduates by allowing them to work as hockey coaches for Snider Hockey. While these former students are working, however, they will receive guidance through workshops designed to help them determining possible career paths, as well as other adult skills like financial literacy and resume writing. Where my role comes in is that I have been charged with writing the lesson plans for these workshops! What particular excites me about this opportunity, besides the ability to gain more valuable unit planning experience, is that I have always enjoyed working with and for young adults. Knowing that something I am creating will hopefully assist these young adults in finding their way and navigating some of the other new challenges they will face after high school is indeed very empowering!

I look forward to telling you more about this as my entries go on!

Staff Meetings


I have the results of not one, but two meetings to share with you this week. One meeting was for the academic assistants at Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (Snider Hockey), and the other was for post-secondary counselors at Snider Hockey. I will share with you a little about each position’s role in Snider Hockey and the respective meetings.

As mentioned earlier, Snider Hockey is an organization that provides free youth hockey programs (including equipment) to children from Philadelphia and Camden. These programs, however, are only a small piece of Snider Hockey’s broader mission. Snider Hockey uses hockey as a platform to teach other valuable life skills while also offering academic assistance and post-secondary counseling to its students. This is incredibly valuable as in Philadelphia and Camden, many of these students’ schools have eliminated youth sports, academic assistance, and college counseling due to budgetary constraints. By offering these services, Snider Hockey boasts that 99% of their participants graduate high school (including some who enter the program at risk for dropping out) in cities where the graduation rates are around 50%.

What struck me most about the academic assistant meeting and my visits to the rinks is how resourceful the academic assistants are to provide tutoring at hockey rinks given that the rinks pre-date Snider Hockey and were not designed to be academic spaces. Despite this challenge, the meeting and my observations really reinforced for me the value of having a one- on- one tutor. The ability to offer student-centered assistance is a very powerful tool that they can use to positively influence these students’ educations. This is why I wish to help Snider Hockey in my role as an intern; I especially enjoy working with the academic assistants to become even more resourceful so as to increase the already large impact on their students.

During the post-secondary counselor meeting, the observation that no student is lost in the organization really stuck out to me. I watched for ten minutes as the eight college counselors, who each work at different rinks, reviewed supports for students. I would hear one counselor say that she was still waiting to meet with a student, only to have another counselor say that the student had met with her. Despite the long list, it turned out that only a handful of students had yet to meet with post-secondary counselors and they were able to make a plan for each of them. I will participate in helping these counselors is in designing programs for students who have graduated from Snider Hockey, but have not yet decided to attend college or find a full-time job. The organization wishes to create programs that can continually mentor students after they graduate with skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and finding a career. I am extremely excited for this opportunity to help design and possibly lead some of these workshops!

Thanks for reading and will see you again soon I hope!

My Work To Date

Hello Reader!

I am almost a month and a half into my internship placement at the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, and it has truly been a wonderful experience so far. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I am helping Snider Hockey with program development and evaluation. In the beginning, this involved creating program manuals for their college counselors and academic assistants. These manuals involved explaining the mission of the organization in a clear and concise manner, as well as offering resources for tutors and college counselors. Most importantly, the manuals offer insight into the different programs at Snider Hockey and how coaches, academic assistants, and college counselors can work together to maximize the total educational experience of the students at Snider Hockey.

The next phase of my internship will be to create professional development opportunities for the academic assistants and coaches at Snider Hockey. I am excited to be a part of my first staff meeting next week where we will brainstorm about different needs of the academic assistants as well as ways to create a community of practice within the organization. The prospects of this project are very because this work will allow me to find real-world applications for many of the teaching and learning theories that I am studying in my coursework at GSE. I am looking forward to filling you all in on the details of the meeting. Additionally, be sure to check for some insider information from Snider Hockey to understand more about the organization so as to understand where my work fits into it!

-James Otwell

Getting Started


For this year, I have been working with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation (or “Snider Hockey”). Snider Hockey is a free hockey program that targets underserved youth and allows them access to the sport. Hockey is only the hook, however, as Snider Hockey also provides services such as homework help, college counseling, life skill development and more. The program works with children age 8 all the way through high school graduation and beyond. The organization has many rinks all throughout the Philadelphia area.

What has been great for me at my experience at Snider Hockey has been the fact that the organization has been in a period of expansion. They are focusing on the academic portion of the program, so I have been helping them develop manuals and curriculum for their various programs. I am also working on training their coaches in various life skill development areas, something that I had a lot of experience at before coming to GSE. I have been able to do work that I feel is meaningful to the organization while also stretching my research and other muscles that I did have not as much experience using before coming to the TLL MSEd. While I have yet to do direct work with students, I have met many of them and have seen them in action.

The matching process that I went through to get my internship could not have gone any better because, while I wanted to intern at a place that allowed me to develop in various areas, I never want to get away from the thrill of teaching and mentoring students. It has been perfect for me thus far and I look forward to telling you more as I undertake new projects and have new experiences with students!

-James Otwell