Students throughout Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) will learn how to skate and pick up basic hockey skills in the coming weeks, thanks to a new partnership with the Indianapolis Youth Hockey Association and the Indy Fuel.
On Fridays and Saturdays starting Jan. 21, IPS students will participate in ice skating lessons at the Arctic Zone Iceplex, a single-rink facility, and the Carmel Rink in Carmel, Indiana. The program will be expanded with second session starting in March with more students learning how to skate.
Using the program created by Learn to Skate USA, students will enjoy 30-minute ice skating lessons that will cover the basics of ice safety and skating skills to help students feel confident on the ice.
After the 30-minute lesson, each skater will have an additional 30 minutes of practice time on the ice. Safety is important to all of us, so all students will be taught by a professional skating instructor.
“Skating is a timeless activity anyone can enjoy, young and young at heart. Challenging kids makes them stronger than you can imagine,” said Kathy Langdon, the district’s physical education and health coach. “Learn to Skate strives to build children’s confidence every session. They do learn to fall, but more importantly, they learn to get back up! Given this strength, they might event learn to fly. Anything’s possible once kids gain the power, they need to do good in the world.
“The program teaches kids lessons to sharpen their focus and provide greater balance on and off the ice. As they conquer challenges on their paths to amazing, new worlds well beyond the world of skating will happen right before their eyes.”
The partnership between IPS and Learn to Skate has been in place for the last year. During the pilot program in 2022, five schools participated in learning the basics of hockey and lessons that go with the goal of skating then moving into ice hockey.
Under Langdon’s direction, the IPS Enrichment Team has been instrumental in aligning the district’s strategic priorities to create afterschool opportunities for students.
The new program also showcases other winter sports to youngsters. Many have only seen hockey on their television or computer screens.
“This aligns with our ‘Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community’ efforts in bringing our schools, students, and community together,” said Langdon. “Without partnerships to showcase what the city has to offer; our students might not have this opportunity.’
Members of the Indy Fuel kicked off the program in mid-December when players and staff visited IPS schools.
“Students and staff really enjoyed listening, talking with players and hearing about what it takes to play hockey,” Langdon said. “The Fuel players explained about proper exercise, healthy eating, and striving to be outstanding students.”