InSideOut Best Practices: Lightridge High School in Virginia

We love hearing directly from leaders implementing InSideOut strategies about how becoming an InSideOut school has positively impacted their school communities.

To celebrate the work being done by InSideOut partners, we occasionally highlight their values-based leadership and culture-changing efforts here on the blog. Today, we’re featuring the work of Athletic Director Jason Treon and the coaching staff at Lightridge High School, a school out of Loudoun County, Virginia.

Many partners we feature work at schools that have coached generations of student-athletes, but the opening of a new high school presented a unique opportunity for the Lightridge team to start implementing the InSideOut Pathway from Day One. Here’s what Jason told us:

On Building InSideOut from the Ground Up

This year, we opened Lightridge High School to relieve overcrowding from another high school. What better time to start the InSideOut Initiative Implementation Pathway than when establishing a new school? We’re in the process of building a culture from the ground-up, and the InSideOut Initiative was a great opportunity to intentionally make Lightridge a place that students, faculty and community members want to be, not a place they have to be! 

But 2020 presented another challenge for us—the majority of our student-athletes have never set foot inside a high school as a student! Only the current juniors have experienced that. Remember, our current 9th- and 10th-graders were previously enrolled at the neighboring intermediate school for the past few years. The InSideOut Initiative has been instrumental in helping our programs transition our kids to being high school students, despite not setting foot in a high school with the current distant-learning model.

On Transformational Coaches

As we began to hire coaches during the 2019-2020 school year, we were looking for coaches aligned with the InSideOut Initiative and desired to be transformational, not transactional. Throughout the summer, the coaches and athletic administration would meet bi-weekly to discuss implementation moving forward. 

The first activity our coaches worked on was developing their Transformational Purpose Statements. We posted these on social media throughout the summer while all our student-athletes, parents, and colleagues were stuck at home with limited interactions. Gearing up to start a new school is the perfect time to share our “Why.” 

On Resiliency During a Pandemic

We are proud of the Lightridge Athletics community for their resiliency during these difficult times. Participation of our coaches and student-athletes has been pivotal for our communities physical, social, and mental/emotional health. With 950 students at Lightridge, roughly 200 of our student-athletes have participated in more than 14 programs.

One successful example is our “Coaches Check-in” program,  where coaches create videos for students with transformational messages. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “The race isn’t over, and the start isn’t the end. We have a long journey ahead of us…keep pushing, keep fighting. Find ways to use your resources.”  – Coach Augrom (Cross Country/Track)
  • “For those that did well, continue to use the same strategies. If you didn’t perform as well, figure out ways to put yourself in positions to be successful. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Continue to do the right thing!” – Coach Eavenson (Football)
  • “Have a growth mindset…celebrate every goal you set.” – Coach Hackett (Girls Soccer)
  • “Celebrate you! Take the time to celebrate failures…failures help to learn and grow along the way.” – Coach Rutan (Boys Soccer)
  • “Tough times don’t last, just tough people.” – Coach Basanes (Baseball)

One of the biggest impacts we have seen since the implementation of the InSideOut Initiative is our program’s shared vision of how we measure success. Sure, winning is fun—but that is not the most objective way to measure success. We now measure success by how we treat ourselves, others, and strive to have empathy. At Lightridge, our coaches main goal is to prepare our kids to develop into outstanding citizens that will make meaningful contributions as they move on in life.

Share With Us

We’re fortunate to work with more than 2,700 schools and nearly 1,500 ADs across 12 states—and we often hear inspirational stories about life-sustaining athletics experiences, and communities putting student-athletes’ health and well-being at the center of their programs.

If you are doing transformational work in education-based athletics, we want to hear from you!

Share your story and a photo at info@insideoutinitiative.org for a chance to be featured.