With 15 classes, a multitude of afterschool practice sessions and other athletics-related activities each week, it’s no wonder Jabari Scutchins, Inly’s Athletic Director, is a familiar, and friendly, face on campus.
Originally from Harlem in New York, where he started playing ice hockey at the age of six, Jabari has brought his lifelong love of sport to his teaching, while working hard to advance Inly’s athletic program.
While at Inly, he has overseen the School’s admission into the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) [Inly is the first Montessori school to be accepted], the procurement and installation of the Spartan Obstacle Course, and the strong growth of
Inly’s flag football team (the Cowboys), among other things.
“My vision for athletics at Inly is really three-fold. I want our kids, at all skill levels, to develop comfort and confidence in their athletic abilities, to build an enduring love of health and fitness, and to cultivate a healthy attitude towards competition,” Jabari (affectionately know by the younger students as ‘Jab Jab’) explains. “Ultimately, I believe that sport is a powerful tool our children can use to help them discover who they are.”
A Strong Curriculum
And while all children at Inly get a chance to benefit from Jabari’s overarching athletics vision, they also benefit from that of Inly’s Movement Arts and Theater Instructor, Colleen Quinn.
As Colleen explains, “The Movement Arts program, which includes creative movement and dance, encourages individual expression while teaching body/spatial awareness and energy control. Through creative movement and whole body activities, students are simultaneously engaging their inner self and outer body. Learning dances and creating choreography help to improve memorization and sequencing ability. All of these skills are used in sports, games and everyday life, which makes Movement Arts an integral part of the Athletics Program and the education of our well rounded students.”
Inly’s Movement Arts program is open to all students, from toddler through Grade 8.
Beginning in Children’s House and also running through Grade 8, students participate in physical education classes (designed to teach critical life skills like sportsmanship, teamwork, coordination, balance, self-discipline, and endurance) as well as co-ed organized sports classes.
Activities range from basic motor games for Children’s House students like “red light, green light,” to balancing and weight distribution activities. From throwing and catching to more advanced Middle School activities like “break the bank,” floor hockey, CrossFit circuits, and the new the Spartan Obstacle Course.
Inly’s After School Program provides opportunities for other athletic outlets like yoga, baseball, kickball, and volleyball on a less formal basis. In addition, students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 who are interested in participating in more structured co-ed team sports, can choose from soccer, flag football, basketball, and cross country.
MAC and NEPSAC
Inly has been a member of the Montessori Athletic Conference of Massachusetts (MAC), an interscholastic league of 12 Montessori middle schools in Massachusetts, since 2009. But the field of competition was broadened considerably when Inly was accepted into NEPSAC three years ago. This much larger and more diverse coalition of athletic directors from accredited independent schools in New England, and their respective athletics teams, offers Inly students the opportunity to shine.
And shine they have.
Last October, Inly’s co-ed soccer team faced a formidable opponent and tied, 2-2. “I don’t think the other team thought for one minute we were going to be able to match their level of competition,” admits Jabari. “But, we did! It was an awesome experience.”
As for winning…
“While winning sure does feel good, I want our students to understand it’s not the only goal. Employing strategy, learning tactics, leveraging individual abilities to help the team succeed – these are important skills too,” Jabari says.
Donna Milani Luther, Head of Inly School, goes on to explain, “Our philosophy is that teamwork, not just competition, is what it takes to succeed – both on the sports field and in life. It’s not just about winning this or that particular game; it’s about winning your long-term personal race. It’s about finding the answer to the question ‘how am I going to be the best person I can be?’ Sports can be one vehicle to help us figure that out.”
And it’s not just the players and the coach that make a team work. Strong involvement and support from the wider Inly community has certainly contributed to the school’s success. From Inly parent and EVP/COO at Boston’s Spartan Race Inc., Jeff Connor’s (’24, ’25) work to provide Inly with its new Spartan Obstacle Course, to Inly parent Jim Walsh’s (’24, ’29) long-term involvement in coaching flag football, to fans ramping up the cheering at games, the wider Inly community regularly comes together to demonstrate its commitment to athletics.
“Soccer was great this year. The Inly Moms really rallied. I loved seeing the big, blue IKEA bag full of healthy items. Moms are the best!” Jabari recounts. He continues, “And, it’s no secret, Jim has really helped turn flag football around. We have won four championships in four years, so that really says it all.”
“We really have had some great success with flag football. Who doesn’t enjoy their Sunday after a 57-0 or 99-0 win?,” agrees Jim. “But it’s not just success on the field. When I started working with the team five years ago, nobody showed up to our games. Now, the entire community rallies behind us.” He goes on to explain, “For
me, it’s all about community-based education and I would say to all Inly parents,
find the spot where you can contribute and don’t hold back.”
As for Inly’s secret for flag football success, “Well,” Jim says, “we borrowed from the Patriots: do simple good, and when you’re good at simple, do simple great. I tell the kids at the end of the season, at the playoffs and the jamboree, ‘You’ve earned this. You’ve put in the work. Go and get this. Not for me. Not for Jabari. Not for Inly. For yourselves.’”
A Look Ahead
Jabari acknowledges that the program has already come a long way. “I know what it’s like to be considered an underdog, but to be able to come in and play like a champion. I think we have a real opportunity here – a chance to be something different from what people expect. We are winning, and we will continue to win. I love that we’re small: that we’re small and powerful.”