Athletics are a fundamental part of the overall educational experience at Spence. The athletic program strives to teach students physical and mental skills, self-discipline and sportsmanship, while motivating athletes to strive for excellence. The value of participation in sports is broad and life-long, as athletes develop teamwork, organizational skills and leadership skills. Spence student-athletes are a source of pride and unity to the diverse school community. All student-athletes have an important role to play in the critical work of addressing systemic racism in the athletic arenas. Spence student-athletes, coaches and administrators will not shy away from courageous conversations about race and athletics to ensure that all policies, operations and procedures at every level promote an equitable, inclusive and welcoming environment for all. Furthermore, Spence athletics will do more than acknowledge injustice, but will also work to build teamwork and spirit within a diverse environment.
Interscholastic athletics is a voluntary program. Students are not obligated to participate and participation is not required for graduation. Accompanying participation is the responsibility to uphold the standards established for the Spence athletic program.
The Grade 5 & 6 Athletics Experience is a time for exploration and discovery; students are provided the opportunity to experience a multitude of activities in a variety of settings. This age-appropriate focus on skill development and socialization is reflected by the diverse program offerings and allows coaches to include all interested students while fostering both the social and sport-specific skill development necessary to prepare the participants for competition. The season will include the opportunity for students to compete in small-sided games, in-school and interscholastic games. Whenever possible, each season will culminate with opportunities for interscholastic play.
The 7 & 8 Athletic Experience is the gateway to the competitive program of the Upper School. The program breadth is reflective of the sport experiences of the Upper School; utilizing a “no- cut” policy, teams are selected based upon skill ability and to include A/B subdivisions when possible. The 7 & 8 athletic program is designed to foster an increased level of competitiveness, skill development and game strategy in an age-appropriate modeling of the Upper School athletic experience. There is notable emphasis placed on honoring commitment to the team, accountability to others, and developing the time management skills necessary for the heightened expectations of the competitive 7 & 8 program. Regular attendance by student-athlete at all practices, as well as all games, is expected. Playing time is based upon skill, an understanding and ability to employ team strategy, coachability, and sportsmanship. Playing time is not equal, and not every team member will play in each contest.
The Upper School Athletic Experience is a highly competitive, very selective athletic program that strives to prepare participants for the rigors of play in the AAIS and NYSAISAA, while continuing to cultivate the personal skills of leadership, commitment, competitiveness, time management, personal sacrifice and the appreciation for the unique skills of the individual. Cuts are made at the Upper School level; students are selected to teams based upon skill, and programs include a V/JV subdivision when possible. In addition to skill, selection is also determined by the demonstrated ability to apply team strategy and concepts, coachability and sportsmanship. Student-athlete attendance at all pre-season and in season practices, as well as games, is required.