Wichita Public Schools approves new eSports program
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: Thursday, July 30, 2020 - The Wichita School Board on Thursday approved the purchase of 320 eSports desktop stations and enrollment of five high schools in eSports leagues. The schools include Northwest, South, Southeast, West and Education Imagine Academy.
Chief information officer Rob Dickson said the program will help students build strategy skills and promote social skills in a blended environment during this time of uncertainty.
Wichita State University will help support the program by covering the cost of training and assisting with implementation in the schools.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - Wichita Public Schools is considering adding a new eSports program across nine schools this year.
The proposal is being considered during the school board meeting on Thursday at noon.
Rob Dickson, chief information officer for Wichita Schools, said, “Whenever you look at eSports today, it offers an opportunity. One, for kids to compete in an environment that’s safe for them. Then, also, I think there’s a level of problem-solving that gets solved in eSports that’s a little different than any other sport that you probably play.”
He added that eSports offer students a renewed sense of competition and camaraderie while challenging them to think critically.
“Our kids are engaged in these activities every day. They’re constantly evaluating data,” he said. “From a gaming perspective, if I can connect the dots, as a student, I’m actually building strategy skills that can help me solve problems that are actually larger problems than you would find in algebra and some of those other classes that you would have.”
The proposal requests 320 eSports desktop stations, not to exceed $544,400, and enrollment of five schools in the High School eSports League for three years at $3,000 per school.
A total of 9 schools will be part of the program.
At the high school level, schools include Northwest, South, Southeast, West and Education Imagine Academy.
At the middle school level, schools include Coleman, Hamilton, Marshall, Wilbur, and Education Imagine Academy.
Middle schools will likely play Rocket League and Minecraft in clubs.
High schools will use four games (League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League, Fortnite) in the High School eSports League for competitions.
The teams are not expected to compete in the fall, but would consider competing in the winter and spring competitions.
To learn more about the eSports program offered at Education Imagine Academy, click here.
To view the agenda for Thursday, click here.
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