August 26, 2020

Olympic, Paralympic, and Professional Athletes Team Up with Educators to Help Students Develop Emotional Resilience During Global Health Crisis

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Classroom Champions, the international nonprofit known for its mentorship program that pairs K-12 classrooms…

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Classroom Champions, the international nonprofit known for its mentorship program that pairs K-12 classrooms with Olympic athlete role models, has developed a new digital social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for U.S. and Canadian educators serving students in grades K-8.

Grounded in the growing body of research that documents the critical connection between SEL skill development and lifelong success and well-being, the SEL Foundations Curriculum includes a suite of digital content featuring world-class athletes — including two-time Olympic gold medalist Christian Taylor and Paralympic Silver Medalist Sophia Herzog, as well as NHL and NFL athletes — who lend their own experiences and mentorship to students through Mindful Minutes and thematic videos during each unit of study.

“Athletes are so often held up as shining examples of perseverance and resilience in the face of overwhelming odds,” said U.S. speedskater and eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Ohno. “But athletes, like anyone else, don’t develop those skills overnight. As students are learning social-emotional skills that will be critical to their own personal successes — and especially in our current moment — the mentorship and connection to athletes and their experiences that Classroom Champions provides is game-changing.”

The curriculum is available for purchase by single classrooms, or can be scaled across a school or district. An enhanced virtual Mentorship+ subscription pairs an individual athlete with a school or classroom, offering more customized athlete engagement throughout the eight units, including video chats and messaging with the athlete mentor.

“Prior to implementing Classroom Champions’ content in my classroom, I struggled to find ways to help my students meaningfully connect with social-emotional concepts,” said Ella Maya, a sixth grade teacher at Glenn L. Downs Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz. “As soon as I began using Classroom Champions resources to demonstrate how invaluable those concepts are to the athletes my students love and admire, the lessons became much more tangible. My students became much more aspirational in their conversations around SEL, and now I can’t wait to share these resources with every student who walks through my door.”

“Social-emotional skills are an inherent part of any athlete’s job description, but even more so with the cancellation of major sporting events like the Olympics,” says Steve Mesler, Olympic gold medalist and co-founder and CEO of Classroom Champions. “Any lessons in resilience, perseverance, and teamwork that were relevant before have been learned tenfold in the wake of COVID-19, and our athletes have more hard-won insights than ever to share with students who are grappling with similar struggles and setbacks during this unprecedented time. As teachers seek ways to connect with their students in this period of isolation, the SEL Foundations Curriculum can help to bridge the gap and equip students with the skills they need to come out stronger on the other side.”

Over the past 10 years, Classroom Champions and its more than 200 Olympians, Paralympians, NCAA student-athletes, and NHL and NFL athlete mentors have taught SEL skills to more than 1 million students across 35 countries. According to surveys of Classroom Champions’ educators, 99% of teachers report Classroom Champions improved student perseverance and resilience. Ninety four percent of teachers report improvement in student grades, and 85% have seen increased attendance.

To learn more about SEL Foundations Curriculum, visit

About Classroom Champions

Classroom Champions is a non-profit dedicated to connecting students with world-class athlete mentors. Classroom Champions supports students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) and academic achievement, and provides curriculum and mentorship programs to districts, schools, and teachers to encourage children to achieve successful futures.

Since its founding, Classroom Champions has provided more than $10,000,000 in scholarships to Title I, rural, and Indigenous communities. Students participating in Classroom Champions see significant improvements in the classroom, teachers see improved engagement, and athlete mentors learn new skills to prepare for life after sport. Learn more at:

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SOURCE Classroom Champions