The Upper School program provides opportunities for students to develop individual fitness and sports skills through a variety of activities including team and individual sports. Our program also offers a health class and some non-traditional fitness activities such as yoga. Dance is part of both the physical education and the arts curriculum. The core of our program is the sequential lifetime fitness classes that emphasize an appreciation and desire for physical training and fitness as a lifetime goal. These classes are supported by a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and our new state of the art weight room and training center.
In order to graduate, students must pass 11 of 12 seasons. Students in grade 9 – 11 must pass all three seasons of each year. Seniors must pass two of the three seasons, with an allowance for one season off. If a senior would like to take a season off, he or she must inform the department in advance of that season.
Team and PE Class Registration
Students sign up through the online Student Portal each spring for the upcoming school year. Students must sign up for a team or PE class for each season. Sign ups for PE classes have capped registration and spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no cap for team registration – teams are determined by tryouts.
If a PE class is full, students may contact the Athletics Office to be added to the wait list. Students are added into classes as space becomes available. Students can ask to be waitlisted for multiple classes.
Students have until two weeks after the start of the season to withdraw from a team or switch PE classes without penalty. After that date, a student may not change his/her PE class and any player who quits a team will not receive credit for that season.
Please note that course offerings are subject to change based on staffing, faculty availability and student registration.
Grading will be based on attendance, attitude, improvement, and effort. Students in non-competitive activities will receive letter grades. Students on teams receive a pass/fail mark. Written comments will be provided to all students. Grades are included on a student’s official transcript. Grade reports are posted to the student and parent portal after each season.
Interims concerning student performance are posted to the student and parent portals. An email is sent to the student, advisor, and parents/guardians when it is posted.
Students who fail a season lose the privilege of taking a season off during senior year. Instead, a student must use the third season to make-up the failing grade for credit. A senior who fails the spring season must make up 24 hours of physical education before receiving their diploma.
Students must participate in a minimum of 80 percent of all classes/practices to receive credit for a season. Daily attendance will be recorded by instructors and coaches.
Students must make up any excused absences (illness, pre-excused doctor’s appointments) to fulfill the attendance requirement. In order to be an excused absence, the student must contact his or her teacher before class. Excused absences will not be granted retroactively. Students are not allowed to make up unexcused absences.
Students with a short-term injury should check in with his/her instructor or coach, and then report to the athletic trainer for treatment.
Any student athlete that has been seen by a physician must have a written release from the treating physician in order to resume practice. The physician’s note must be provided to both the athletic trainer and the athletic director before a student will be allowed to return to practice.
Students with a long-term injury or illness can – subject to approval of the Athletic Director – receive credit for a season by:
Serving as a manager for a team, as approved by the coach;
Establishing a rehabilitation program with the athletic trainer;
- Applying to the athletic director for a medical exemption. Any request for an exemption must include sufficient medical documentation. Exemptions are granted by the athletic director in consultation with the athletic trainer;
- Taking the season off without credit and making it up before graduation
Students interested in an independent study must demonstrate a high performance level in their requested field. In order to receive credit for an independent study, students must submit an application by the required deadline to the Independent Study Committee for its consideration. An application must be submitted for each season – deadlines are listed on the application form for each season. The applicant must agree to participate on the school’s team in that sport as a prerequisite for applying.
Independent study forms can be downloaded from the athletics webpage under “Forms”. Please refer to the form for more specifics about the application process.
Travel time together can be an important element in forming team cohesion and players are expected to travel to games together on the team bus. Parents may take their child directly home after games but must receive positive acknowledgement from the coach before departing so that those riding back to school on the team bus do not lose time searching for a teammate who has already departed. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Athletic Director.
All students must have complete medical forms on file with the school prior to participation in any pre-season athletic practices or games.
The concussion testing policy is available on the Parent Portal under the Health Services link, “Impact Concussion Testing”. Upper School athletes are tested every two years to ensure an accurate baseline profile.
Starting in the 2015/16 school year, all students perform a fitness test twice each school year. Pre- and post-test results will be provided to students.
All interscholastic programs are encouraged to have team parents to provide support with communications to parents and team functions. Interested parents may contact the head coach to volunteer.
Inclement Weather and Lightning Policy
Cancellations due to inclement weather are posted to the Sidwell Athletics webpage. Parents and students can subscribe to iCal feeds in order to receive notifications when games are cancelled.
In addition, League policy stipulates that all outdoor activities must be suspended immediately if thunder is heard or lightning is observed. Once activities have been suspended, teams must wait a minimum of thirty minutes following the last sound of thunder or observation of lightning before resuming an activity or returning outdoors. All participants and spectators must move indoor for safety during a delay.
In accordance with guidelines for fundraising listed in the Sidwell Friends School Community Handbook under the section, “Stewardship, Donations and Fundraising,” team fundraising must be pre-approved by the Athletic Director and, if appropriate, the Administrative Council. Fundraising activities should be designed to enhance the community’s experience, such as concession sales at home games. Funds raised should be for team activities such as travel to tournaments or camps and end of season celebrations, and not for team gear.
While the athletic department appreciates the desire of teams and athletes to celebrate achievements and promote team unity by purchasing specialized gear or jackets, the department must also ensure parity among teams and athletes and avoid burdening individuals and families with additional costs.
Any team that wants to purchase gear must first seek approval from both the team’s coach and the Athletic Director. Once approved, all purchases must be made through the Fox Den and the cost of the item will be billed to each student’s account prior to ordering.
Expectations of Athletes
It is expected that all team athletes will make a sincere commitment to the team. Teams can neither go up against strong competition nor meet the rigors of existing schedules without a commitment and understanding from all athletes of the expectations. Each athlete should commit him/herself to his/her teammates, the sport and Sidwell Friends. Additionally, athletes should:
attend all games and practices, putting forth 100 percent effort
come prepared and on time for practices and games
work to improve essential skills and knowledge of the sport
display respectful and appropriate behavior toward teammates, coaches, opponents, officials, managers, bus drivers, athletic staff, spectators, the game and its rules at all times.
be responsible for the care and return of your uniforms and equipment.
report any injury to your coach and the athletic trainer.
represent the school and its commitment to Quaker values in all aspects of participation.
Expectations of Spectators
The School encourages parents, students, and other members of the school community to support student athletes at competitions. It is expected that all who attend will:
demonstrate positive support of the coaches, student-athletes, and the school’s athletic program including its policies, strategies, and team rules.
- adhere to the leagues’ sportsmanship codes of conduct.
demonstrate and encourage good sportsmanship, including appropriate cheering and supporting all teammates at games
approach games in a positive manner, treating officials with courtesy and not challenging their calls
refrain from interfering and interacting with players, coaches, and members of the opposing teams during competition or team activities.
Parents with concerns relating to a team or their child’s athletic experience should make an appointment to speak with the coach privately and, if unresolved, contact the athletic director.
Use of Facilities
The Athletic Performance Center (APC) is open for all current students daily from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Students must adhere to the department’s athletic training and athletic performance center usage policies. These policies are in place to ensure the safety of all students and the proper maintenance of the facilities.
Please see Appendices A and B for detailed policies for athletic training and usage of the Athletic Performance Center.
Use of School Name in Competition
The School does not sponsor or allow athletes to engage in competition under the Sidwell Friends name except in the following circumstances:
Varsity, JV, or middle school teams competing in interscholastic league play
Existing club teams formally recognized in the school’s curriculum (currently crew and Ultimate Frisbee)
The School’s liability insurance will not assume coverage arising from competition other than in the circumstances described above. Accordingly, no sponsorship or recognition can be extended by the school to athletes in competition other than in the categories listed above.
College Recruitment of Student Athletes
The athletic department works collaboratively with the college counseling staff and plays an active role in supporting and promoting students who aspire to play in college. Coaches serve as the primary point of contact for college coaches and will assist any student with the recruiting process. This includes writing recommendations, communicating with schools, developing game tapes, and encouraging students to attend camps in the summer at colleges of interest. The athletic director has an open-door policy and will meet with any student and/or parents/guardians to discuss the recruitment process.
Additionally, each January, the Athletics and College Counseling departments jointly host a breakfast for parents focused on college recruitment of student athletes. The departments convene a panel of college coaches to discuss the recruitment process and field questions from the audience.
Amount of participation in interscholastic contests
Seniors who have been a part of the program more than one year
Overall contribution to the team
No athlete will be presented with the actual letter more than once. Varsity athletes will also receive the pin for their sport in the first year and a bar in successive years.
The Athletic Department recognizes outstanding athletic achievement at its annual, end-of-the-year awards ceremony. The athletes that have had exceptional experiences are eligible for the following awards:
The Sidwell Friends School Athletic Award is the highest honor presented to one member of each team. The winner is determined by the team’s head coach and recognizes outstanding achievement, sportsmanship, and total contribution to the success of the team.
The Coach’s Award recognizes an athlete of the coach’s choosing, whether it be for most valuable, most improved, greatest effort, etc.
These awards are given for each Varsity and JV team and the boys freshman basketball team.
Individual Awards for Seniors
In addition to the team awards, individual awards are presented at the annual, end-of-the-year ceremony to recognize career achievements:
are presented to seniors who have earned six or more varsity letters in their athletic careers at Sidwell.
The Unsung Hero Award is presented annually to a senior male and female athlete for contributions that might otherwise go unrecognized. The recipients of the award – by virtue of their presence, participation, dedication and enthusiasm – have significantly enriched the Sidwell Friends Athletic Program.
The Tyler Rusch Award is presented to a senior male and female athlete that have significantly enriched the Sidwell Friends Athletic Program through motivational leadership, steadfast participation, dedication to teamwork, enthusiasm and an all-out effort in athletic competition. This award is given in memory of former student Tyler Rusch ’04.
The Wannan and Fine Awards are presented to a senior male and female athlete who, by consensus of the PE and Athletic Department, deserve recognition for their athletic talent, leadership, dedication, sportsmanship, broad participation and interest and involvement in all aspects of school life.
In addition, both the MAC and ISL select all-league teams in every varsity sport. After each season, a list of recipients is posted to the Sidwell athletics webpage. Recipients also are honored at the spring awards evening with a league certificate.
Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC)
Sidwell’s boys teams participate in the MAC, which is composed of a group of schools in the Washington metropolitan area that maintain athletic relationships with one another and subscribe to the following philosophy and objectives:
“The members of this League have joined together to mutually support the highest standards of athletic competition and student interaction. We believe that the primary purpose of our institutions is to support the academic and personal growth of our students. Therefore, our League places the highest emphasis on sportsmanship, mutual respect and adherence to fair play. Each school is pledged to support the others in their efforts to sustain these goals. Each school also commits itself to an admissions process that does not give undue emphasis to athletic skills or provide athletic scholarships. Thus, athletic achievement is put in its proper role in the overall academic focus of the school and this League, as a whole, expects that each school will avoid any recruiting that would undermine these standards.”
League Sportsmanship Expectations:
The MAC embraces a common core of values and cooperates in a collective attempt to achieve them: We emphasize the value of respect for self and for others. We realize that an athletic contest is only a game and we expect positive encouragement from all participants and spectators. MAC members are gracious in victory as well as defeat.
Member Schools: Flint Hill, Georgetown Day, Maret, Potomac, St. Andrew's, St. James, and Sidwell Friends
Independent School League (ISL)
Twelve metropolitan area independent schools announced on April 17, 1985, the formation of a new athletic league for competition in girls sports. The league was formed by Gary Blackman, former athletic director at Sidwell Friends School, with the aid of then-assistant athletic director Anne Renninger, who wrote the by-laws. The purpose of the League is to:
Provide female students at the member schools a quality athletic experience through structured league play;
Provide for recognition of individual and team accomplishments;
Promote sportsmanship, good will, and healthy rivalries among member schools and their athletes.
Competition takes places in ten sports: soccer, field hockey, volleyball, tennis, cross country, basketball, swimming, softball, lacrosse, and track and field.
The league is split into two sports divisions – “AA” and “A” – when there are thirteen or more teams competing. The prior year’s results will determine in which division a school will be placed. For sports where fewer than twelve teams compete, there will be only one division.
. The ISL embraces a common core of values and cooperates in a collective attempt to achieve them. The value of respect for self and others is emphasized. Athletic contests are only games. The expectation is that only positive encouragement is asserted from all participants and spectators. ISL members are gracious in victory as well as defeat.
The ISL annually presents the James W. Lewis Trophy to the ISL overall champion and the Evelyn Fine (former Sidwell Friends Girls Athletic Director) and Virginia Peddle Trophy to the ISL school finishing second in overall competition. In 1996, the Blackman Sportsmanship Award was established in honor of Gary Blackman (former Sidwell Friends Athletic Director). This award is presented to the league school and its entire community in recognition of school sportsmanship.
Member Schools: Bullis, Episcopal, Flint Hill, Georgetown Day, Georgetown Visitation, Holton Arms, Holy Child, Madeira, Maret, National Cathedral, Potomac, Sandy Spring, Sidwell Friends, Stone Ridge, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes, St. Andrew's
5/6 Physical Education
The fifth and sixth grade program provides an overview of our seventh and eighth grade interscholastic sports offerings, fitness assessments and a health unit. Each student participates in twelve different three-to-four week sport units. The classes of sixteen students are divided by grade level and are taught by full-time physical education faculty. Our program offers a variety of sports experiences with an emphasis on skill development, discipline, sportsmanship and a healthy respect for physical activity.
The fifth and sixth grade PE program meets daily from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm.
5/6 Curriculum by Season
7/8 Physical Education
Interscholastic athletic competition begins in the 7th and 8th grades. The program focuses on skill development, game strategies, teamwork, discipline, commitment and sportsmanship. For each season (fall, winter, spring), the students may participate on one team or take a dance class that culminates in a performance. Overall, the physical education opportunities emphasize the improvement of physical fitness levels while improving specific sports skills in practice and game settings. To maximize team participation we have multiple levels for several sports, but some students end up in their second choice.
7/8 PE meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 2 – 3:15 pm and Tuesdays from
1 – 2 pm. There are no 7/8 PE classes or games on Fridays. When games are scheduled, students can expect to be in PE beyond the regular class hours. For example, for a 2:45 pm away game, students will typically be back to campus by 4:45 pm. Coaches will communicate if it will be longer than that. Students ride on school-provided transportation to games.
Parents may take their child directly home after games but must receive positive acknowledgement from the coach before departing so that those riding back to school on the team bus do not lose time searching for a teammate who has already departed.
7/8 Interscholastic Sports
Girls’ Soccer (2 teams)
Boys’ Soccer (2 teams)
Football (Lightweight & Heavyweight)
Girls’ Field Hockey
Boys' & Girls' Cross Country
Girls’ Basketball (3 teams)
Boys’ Basketball (3 teams)
Boys' & Girls' Swimming
Boys’ Lacrosse (2 teams)
Girls’ Lacrosse (2 teams)
Boys' & Girls' Track and Field
Students may participate in two out of three seasons of Movement Performance per academic year.
Registration for 7/8 Sports
graders register for their PE selections at the end of May. All students have equal opportunity to sign up for their first choice PE team for each season. Although signups are open, tryouts will be held for teams with large enrollment numbers. To maximize team participation we have multiple levels for several sports. However, some students have to go to their second choice.
Uniforms and Equipment
Middle school uniforms are purchased through the Fox Den. 5/6 students wear a gray Sidwell t-shirt and maroon mesh shorts. 7/8 students wear maroon Sidwell jerseys and black shorts for practices and games.
When the weather gets cooler, students should plan to keep a sweatshirt and sweatpants in their gym locker, but these do not have to be Sidwell Friends School items.
In addition, the following items will be used by all 5/6 students over the course of the year in PE:
Shin Guards and Socks
Bathing Suit (cap optional)
5/6 students are welcome to bring their own tennis rackets, lacrosse sticks, etc., but families do not need to purchase these – the athletic department has items to lend for the 5/6 sessions.
5/6 grade reports are similar to the Lower School grade reports, providing a checklist of skills and abilities and written comments for each session. 7/8 grade reports provide a narrative of each student’s performance for that season. Grade reports are posted to the parent portal at the end of each season.
All middle school students are assigned a locker for the entire school year. Students must buy a lock for their locker and provide the combination to Megan Miller (girls) or Chan Cho (boys). The department maintains the list in case students forget their combination so locks do not need to be cut off. If a student changes his/her lock during the school year, please remember to provide the updated combination.
5/6 students currently receive fitness testing twice a year. Starting in the 2015-16 school year, 7/8 students will also perform a fitness test twice each school year. Biannual fitness testing continues through the twelfth grade. Pre- and post-test results will be provided to students.
The concussion testing policy is available on the Parent Portal under the Health Services link, “Impact Concussion Testing”. Concussion testing begins in 7
grade and occurs every two years thereafter to ensure an accurate baseline profile.
Lost and Found
Lost and found items are stored beneath the upper level and two lower level staircases in the Athletic Center. Before winter and summer breaks, the any unclaimed lost and found items are donated to area charities. The department will set out remaining items and remind students to check the lost and found prior to donating items.
Middle School Awards
At the end of each season, there will be an awards assembly to recognize the efforts of all the middle school athletes and teams. The following awards will be presented to members of each team (recipients selected by the team’s head coach):
The Sidwell Friends Athletic Award is the highest honor presented to one member of each team and recognizes outstanding achievement, sportsmanship, and total contribution to the success of the team.
The Coach’s Award recognizes an athlete of the coach’s choosing, whether it be for most valuable, most improved, greatest effort, etc.
Athletic Performance Center Policies
Use of Facilities
Usage of the Athletic Performance Center (APC) is limited to:
Current student athletes
Regularly scheduled physical education classes
Students with permission from the athletic director and coaches
Faculty and staff
All APC use must be directly supervised.
Responsible use and supervision is critical. Before anyone can use the machines and equipment in the APC, he/she must be trained by the school’s certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Teams will be provided with assigned lift times. All others must consult with coaches in order to use the APC.
All coaches are responsible for assisting in the area of risk management related to usage of the facility.
Proper attire is required to exercise at all times. This includes t-shirts, sneakers, shorts, and sweats. Cleats, sandals, flip-flops and bare feet are not allowed in the Athletic Performance Center.
All belongings must be stored in the locker room. No gym bags, book bags, notebooks, or other extraneous items are allowed in the APC.
Food and Drink Prohibited
Drinks in closed bottles are permitted and must be stored near the water fountain during work outs. No food, open drinks or supplements are allowed in the APC.
All athletes must put safety first and must work with a partner for spotting and lift-offs. Please consult Chan Cho for assistance with specific techniques or to modify lift techniques.
Standing on equipment is not permitted anywhere except for designated areas for spotting. This includes standing on any upholstery or leaning on bars, pulley cables, pads or other areas that are not meant for external stresses.
Proper Care and Storage of Equipment
All cardio equipment must be wiped down after use. Sanitary wipes are available next to each machine.
No weights may be left on the bars or floor and must be returned the rack after use. Weight stacks on the machines should not be dropped or banged around. They should be eased back to a resting position when in use.
8/20: Preseason football starts
8/24: All other preseason sports start
9/8: PE/Athletics Back-to-School Night in Meeting Room at 6:30 pm
9/9: Fall independent study applications due
9/11: GAMETIME! Varsity Football vs. George Mason, 4:30 pm (Reception @ 4:00 pm in Zartman Garden)
9/14: Fall PE classes start
9/18: GAMETIME! Girls Varsity Tennis vs. Madeira, 4:15 pm (Reception @ 3:45 pm at the Wisconsin Avenue Tennis Courts)
9/21: Last day to add/drop fall PE classes
9/25: GAMETIME! Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Maret, 4:15 pm (Reception @ 3:45 pm in Zartman Garden)
9/26: GAMETIME! Girls & Boys Varsity Cross Country, 9:00 am, Kenilworth Park (DC)
9/29: GAMETIME! Boys Varsity Soccer vs. GDS, 4:00 pm (Reception @ 3:30 pm in Zartman Garden)
10/6: Girls Varsity Volleyball vs. Maret, 4:15 pm (Reception @ 3:45 pm in Athletic Center)
10/16: Upper School Pep Rally
10/20: GAMETIME! Golf Championships; 7 am sendoff with coffee and donuts in Sidwell Parking Garage
10/27 – 10/29: ISL Tennis Tournament
10/29: GAMETIME! Varsity Field Hockey vs. St. James, 4:30 pm (Reception @ 4:00 pm outside Wisconsin Avenue Tennis Courts)
10/31 – 11/8: All other MAC/ISL tournaments start.
11/6: Fall PE classes end
11/13: Fall Middle School Awards Ceremony, 2:50 pm, Meeting Room
11/9: MAC winter season begins
11/10: Winter independent study applications due
11/11: ISL winter season begins
11/16: Winter PE classes begin
12/3 – 12/5: Sidwell Girls and Boys Basketball Tournament
12/19: Sidwell Wrestling Tournament
1/6: College Coaches Breakfast Panel: “Recruitment of Student Athletes” – convened by the Athletic Department and College Counseling Office
1/21 – 1/22: ISL Swimming Championships
2/4: MAC Wrestling Championships
2/26: Winter PE classes end
2/26 – 2/28: ISL & MAC Basketball Tournaments (MAC hosted @ Sidwell)
3/3: Winter Middle School Awards Ceremony, 2 pm, Meeting Room
2/29: MAC and ISL spring season starts
3/7: Spring PE classes start
3/8: Spring independent study applications due
5/16: 2016-17 PE registration begins this week – specific dates and times will be emailed to students and parents in the spring
5/20: Spring PE classes end
5/26: Upper School Athletic Awards Ceremony, Kogod Arts Center, 6 pm
6/2: Spring Middle School Awards Ceremony, 2 pm, Meeting Room
* Winter and Spring GAMETIME dates will be announced on the Sidwell Athletics webpage.
Please note dates are subject to change.