Monday, August 15, 2022

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Central high school. PHOTO: PPSD

The Providence Public School District (PPSD) has announced a new eSports program at Central High School for the 2022-23 school year.

E-sports is short for Electronic Sports, a form of organized competition using multiplayer video games. It differs from the traditional video game because it is organized into teams, has a season structure like other high school sports, and is overseen by a governing body, explains PPSD.

Esports is the fastest growing high school competition in the United States, and the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) recently began sanctioning teams. Esports harnesses several 21st century skills, including critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Funding for Central High School’s program was made possible through several sources, including a STEM mini-grant from the Rhode Island Department of Education, Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER), and legislative grants through the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

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“This exciting opportunity for our Central High School students is a shining example of Rhode Island’s dedication to innovative and engaging STEAM education,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “By thinking outside the box, we provide opportunities for students to learn, grow and thrive in rapidly growing career fields. We look forward to seeing the success of the program and working in partnership to further develop of unique STEAM opportunities in public schools in Providence and beyond.

“I am more than happy to help excite an opportunity for our students in the urban community to participate in a 21st century critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creative skills program at Central High School. added State Rep. Anastasia P. Williams of District 9 in Providence. “I’m safe to say that this is just the start of a great idea in our schools and I look forward to celebrating the success of this program with all of the participating students and their teachers.” »

Rep. Williams helped secure a $10,000 legislative grant for the E-sports program along with Rep. John Lombardi of District 8 in Providence, Rep. Raymond Hull of District 6 in Providence and North Providence, Rep. William O’Brien of District 54 in North Providence, and Rep. Scott Slater of District 10 in Providence.

About the program

The new esports program at Central High School will be led by math teacher Dan Lyttle, who was inspired by a visit to the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich. Lyttle then compiled a list of needed technology and equipment and worked with central administrators Scott Sutherland, Bobby DiMuccio, Renee Walker and Oscar Paz to establish the program and secure funding.

“We at Central are so excited to start this program,” coach Dan Lyttle said. “We hope that esports will be a way for more students, especially those who have no other outlet, to become more involved in school activities. Central has a solid sports history and we want to continue that and be number one in the state. As the program continues to grow, I challenge other schools and districts to form their own teams and join this innovative wave. »

Central teachers Jason Gomez, Megan Levy and Alex Lee join Lyttle on the coaching staff. The fall season begins in late September, with a spring season later in the school year. About 14 students have already expressed interest in joining the program, with several more expected to enroll through recruitment efforts.

Last year, there were 20 esports programs in Rhode Island schools, according to the RIIL. Teams also compete against schools in other states. All games chosen for the interscholastic competition must be rated “E for all” or “E-10”, which means that the content is appropriate for players 10 years and older. The Central team will compete in League of Legends, Rocket League, Mario Cart Deluxe, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate games.

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