PCA December Partner of the Month: Austin Independent School District

PCA December Partner of the Month: Austin Independent School District

Austin Independent School District (ISD) educates more than 73,000 students and embraces 116 diverse school communities in one of the fastest-growing metroplexes in the country. In partnership with their families and their community, Austin ISD’s mission is to prepare every student with the knowledge and skills to thrive in college, career, and life.

The mission of the Austin ISD Athletic Program is to create an environment that fosters respect, leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and a commitment to excellence.

Through athletics, their coaches help their student-athletes develop socially and emotionally, building the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and responsible decision-making, all while building relationships with their teammates, opponents and community members.

Eastside Early College High School has been working with PCA for 6 months and we spoke to Luis Becerra, Athletic Coordinator/Head Football at Eastside Early College High School about how things are going.

PCA Coach Workshops- Bringing Teams Together

Before engaging with PCA, Becerra worked hard for six years to develop a strong culture for his coaching team. When he introduced PCA in the summer of 2023, Becerra wanted to make sure that PCA was aligned with the culture he was building.  In addition, he wanted to make sure that PCA could build a lasting relationship with his coaches and athletes, and that everyone “would get something out of ” working together.

Becerra’s team attended a PCA coaches workshop this past summer and he was  thrilled with the results. The workshop not only provided tools for the coaches, but it was an opportunity for the team to get together and better understand each other which Becerras said was one of the best parts of the workshop.  It allowed the entire staff to have an honest conversation about working together and how their approach can positively impact kids. The coaches were also excited as they discovered many of PCA’s key messages resonated with their own priorities and goals, creating a shared foundation for their approach.

Becerra said he felt the workshop “helped solidify us as a unit and it’s things like PCA that help us realize how far we’ve come as a staff and to reassure everybody here that we’re doing the right things.”

PCA work with Student Athletes

All student athlete leaders completed PCA’s Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor course this year and will continue the PCA Character and Leadership Development program.

Becerra and the coaches said the workshop was a success and you “could immediately see how engaged the athletes were as they were asking questions, and you could see many of the messages were hitting home.”  One of the coaches talked about how excited she was that much of what the athletes were presented was “like a lot of it is what the coaches had discussed over the summer so that the students can understand how they fit into what it is the coaches are trying to do.”

While Becerra was happy with the tools and resources presented, he knows the most important part of working with PCA is the impact it is having on the kids. Becerra said there was an athlete dealing with tough issues at home who talked about the positive changes he was experiencing because of what he learned in the workshop. The athlete let Becerra know that had it not been for the PCA workshop he would still be dealing with a very difficult home situation.

Becerra said the impact PCA had on this athlete was incredibly important to him because it let him know that what his team is trying to do as a coaching staff was being supported by the principles upheld by PCA. He said it was also gratifying to have someone else come in and echo the same things that his team has been saying and for “our kids to realize it’s not just our coaches trying to get us to do what they want us to do”.

Becerra knows there are other young men and young women that were impacted by the PCA workshop, and he told the coaches that this is why we do what we do. “We need to do what it takes to impact kids, get them to listen to what we have to say, and to find resources, such as PCA, that help affirm the values we are trying to instill.”

PCA – Working together in the Future

Becerra talked about the relationship his team is building with PCA and thinks the opportunities “are really limitless”. Overall,  what he wants from PCA is what’s best for the kids and “that what’s best for our kids in our community is for them to understand that they have more resources out there than they ever thought they did – –  resources beyond the school, this building, the coaches that they see every day, and know that there are people in this world that care about them the way we do.“