The La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools’ ESSPN Sports League wrapped up its Fall 2023 season in December, crowing season champions for both elementary and middle school leagues, with middle schools fielding both boys and girls teams.
The 2023 Fall season saw more than 500 students from 16 schools take part in the league!
Murdock Elementary took home the elementary league championship, defeating Loma Elementary’s team in the final game which was played at Grossmont High School.
Parkway Academy teams took home championship trophies for middle schools in both the girls’ and boys’ leagues, with STEAM Academy’s girls’ team finishing second and Spring Valley Academy’s boy’s team taking runner-up honors.
Collaboration Creates Enrichment
The program, part of the district’s Extended Student Services (ESS) program, saw multiple departments collaborate to create meaningful experiences for the students. “There were so many people who made this season possible for our students,” says Heather Spruell, Extended Student Services Supervisor for La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools.
“School social workers ran SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) lessons with the teams, our Child Nutrition team served early lunches and provided snacks, school office managers, office assistants, and health techs navigated early dismissals for games. On top of that our Transportation department got kids safely to and from games, and of course, our ESSPN coaches showed amazing dedication to their teams. All of these people enhanced the lives of our students and community.”
First Year With Girls Teams
2023 was the first season to include girls’ teams in the league, with four teams from three schools participating. This development heralds football as a newly sanctioned CIF sport, providing LMSV students with opportunities to play the sport in advance of entering high school.
NFL Partnership Boosts Interest
An added bonus for this season was the recently established partnership with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. ESSPN players were given Rams-themed jerseys with school names across the back, as well as other equipment for the season.
The partnership kicked off with a summer celebration including a Rams representative leading interested participants through drills and exercises. As the partnership grows there is hope that Rams players and/or coaches will return to encourage students and build skills.
Continues Spruell, “ESSPN has grown so much in the last three years. We have seen students grow on and off the field. Students who started in elementary school are now playing for their middle schools, and middle school students have continued to play sports and thrive in high school.”
“It’s hard to put into words the impact that ESSPN has had on our students,” says Deann Ragsdale, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. “Returning from the pandemic we knew that we needed to create pathways for students to build connections back to school and their school community. ESSPN created a bridge for students who didn’t have one. I am so proud of ESSPN and our team of ESS staff who make these opportunities possible for children.”
To learn more about ESS in La Mesa-Spring Valley, or to speak with ESS Manager Jennifer Montez, click here.