They were carefully studying the playbook at AT&T Stadium August 11, but it wasn’t the Dallas Cowboys doing the studying. Rather, it was 65 Arlington ISD and Frisco ISD teachers who will be rolling out a new Character Playbook in their classrooms this fall.
A partnership of the NFL and United Way, Character Playbook is a digital curriculum that educates middle school students about how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships. The United Ways of Tarrant County and Metropolitan Dallas have joined with the Dallas Cowboys and education technology company EverFi to bring Character Playbook this year to 10 Arlington ISD junior high schools, and 4 Boys & Girls Clubs in Arlington.
After a video featuring Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett that emphasized the importance of character education, and before a tour of AT&T Stadium, the teachers learned how Character Playbook guides students through interactive activities that explore challenges like managing emotions, communicating effectively in relationships and resolving conflict. It also equips young people with safe, effective options for stepping up when a friend, family member, or fellow student needs help.
The Arlington ISD will introduce Character Playbook to 8th graders taking the Career Technology Higher Education Investigation course. “This means approximately 99% of 8th graders in AISD will be exposed to Character Playbook, which will become part of AISD’s curriculum moving forward,” said LaToya Stewart, Vice President of Community Development at United Way of Tarrant County.
LaToya noted that the middle grades are a time of dramatic growth for youth, making Character Playbook especially relevant. “Students experience physical and emotional changes, early stages of puberty and a more rigorous academic environment with changing classes, multiple teachers, rotating schedules, and significantly larger numbers of students at each grade level that come from different elementary schools,” she said. “Strengthening the middle grades experience is a critical leverage point for improving high school graduation rates and increasing the number of students who graduate prepared for higher education.”
The Tarrant and Metropolitan Dallas United Ways are among 15 United Ways in the nation that are launching this new national education initiative. Character Playbook will expand to all 32 NFL team markets and their surrounding communities over the next three years. The digital curriculum for Character Playbook was developed and powered by Everfi, alongside subject matter experts.