Category Archives: Athletics

This Year in Inly Sports!

Photo courtesy of Matt West

Photo courtesy of Matt West

Over the past two years, Inly’s athletics have really amped up, thanks in large part to Jabari Scutchins, Head Coach and Director of Inly Athletics. Jabari has worked hard to recruit more students to play Inly sports, increasing participation by 10%. In addition, he and other members of the Inly community including parents, faculty, and staff, have offered their athletic talents to coach new sport programs like Flag Football, Cross-Country, and Floor Hockey. Jabari also lobbied for Inly School to become the first Montessori school to join NEPSAC, the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council. Now, each athletic season includes games against schools in the MAC (Montessori Athletic Conference) as well as NEPSAC conferences. In addition, with the generous help from Inly parents, Andrew Sullivan and John D’Allessandro, Inly has also expanded the upper athletic field to make it a regulation-size soccer field. A new fence, donated by Mike and Stacey Grealish, will also help keep the balls in play in the coming seasons.

As a result of these collective efforts, Inly is establishing a strong foundation in athletics. As Inly’s athletic programs grow, it is our hope that our students continue to learn about teamwork, respect, competition, and many other valuable life lessons. It is also our hope that our participation in NEPSAC not only complements but enhances our existing athletic programming and gives students who crave additional competition the chance to challenge themselves.

Below you will find a few highlights from “THIS YEAR IN SPORTS.”


Inly’s soccer team

Inly Soccer:

Inly’s soccer team had more than just fancy official team uniforms to add to their resume this year. They also had a great season. Most notably, one player scored a record 7 goals in a single home game.

Inly Basketball:

Flag football fall practice

Flag football fall practice

With the record snowfall this winter, Inly’s basketball season was brief but still exciting. Player highlights included 20 points scored in a single home game, 14 rebounds in one a single away game, and 10 assists in a single away game.

Flag Football:

Flag football has had two very exciting fall and spring seasons this year at the South Shore YMCA. This spring, there is a 7–9 team and a 10–13 team. Inly is proudly one of the most co-ed teams in the league and both male and female players alike have been dominating the field with touchdowns, tackles, and sacks.


Inly runners at their first meet vs. Kingsley Montessori

Inly runners at their first meet vs. Kingsley Montessori

Inly cross-country has been logging miles and crossing milestones over the past few seasons. They had their first meet against Kingsley Montessori in April along the Charles River Esplanade. In addition, students have been competing in local 5K’s on the weekends, some event earning top spots in the kids divisions. The Cross-Country team would also like to extend a special thanks to the After School Project “Juice Bar” for making them delicious juice creations for some post-run fuel!

Inly Athletics Reaches New Level: Sports teams now compete in two leagues

By Donna Milani Luther, Head of School

Jabari Scutchins watches over flag football practice this fall.

Jabari Scutchins, Inly’s Athletic Director, watches over flag football practice this fall.

I’m very proud to announce that Inly School has become the first Montessori school to join NEPSAC, the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council. NEPSAC was established in 1942 as an organization of athletic directors from accredited New England independent schools. There are now over 175 schools in the league and four districts. Starting next fall, Inly’s soccer team will compete in 3–5 games against other NEPSAC schools in our district (District 3) and Inly’s running team will compete in 3–5 races in the spring.

This exciting athletic milestone is in large part thanks to the work of Jabari Scutchins, Inly’s new Athletic Director. Since joining Inly’s faculty last year, Jabari has worked hard to bring our athletic programs to the next level. This has included offering Boot Camp, continuing our Play60 Youth NFL football program at the South Shore YMCA in Hanover, and starting Team Inly.

Inly Bootcamp, or “IBC,” is an early morning exercise program designed to stimulate brain activity and prepare students for concentrating on the school day ahead. IBC has been offered this year on Mondays and Wednesdays to LE students and Tuesdays and Thursdays to UE and MS students for 30 minutes.

Inly offered a Play60 Youth NFL football program at the Hanover YMCA in the fall, coached by Jabari Scutchins and Inly parent, Mike Benning. We have also included a flag football team this spring as part of our after-school programming. The flag football team is co-ed and has been very popular with both our male and female student athletes.

Jabari has also initiated Team Inly, which is comprised of faculty and staff, students, and parents who represent Inly at local sporting events including road races, walks, bike rides, and more. The goal of Team Inly is to unite the Inly community around healthy physical activities. Thus far, members of Team Inly have participated in the Holly Hill Farm 5K this fall, the Feed the Need 5K this spring, and plan to participate in the Hingham 4th of July Road Race this summer.

In addition to competing in NEPSAC, Inly’s fall soccer team will continue to compete in the Massachusetts Montessori Athletic Conference (MAC). The Montessori Athletic Conference is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year and is hosting a 5K in Lexington Montessori this weekend to commemorate the achievement. (All are welcome to participate and race details can be found here).

Last month, Julie Kelly-Detwiler, our Assistant Head of School, wrote a very interesting and personal perspective piece debunking some of the misconceptions about Montessori and competition (see “Misconceptions About Montessori and Competition.”)

“It is clear to me that Maria Montessori was not against competition. As the first female physician in Italy, she was a woman of great drive and accomplishment. Rather, Montessori held a revolutionary idea that the adult’s role is to create a learning environment that entices children to explore and develop their potential through intrinsic motivation, and not one that uses the artificial construct of competition as motivation. She understood what behavioral scientists in the 21st century have come to know as well, that extrinsic rewards and punishments—such as grades, class ranking, and awards—are the worst kinds of motivators to sustained achievement and often work against the children they are meant to serve.”

As our athletic programs grow, it is our hope that our students continue to learn about teamwork, respect, competition, and many other valuable life lessons. It is also our hope that our participation in NEPSAC not only complements but enhances our existing athletic programming and gives students who crave additional competition the chance to challenge themselves.

Please stay tuned for future updates about more exciting changes in Inly Sports & Athletics!

The Misconceptions about Montessori and Competition

By Julie Kelly-Detwiler

This is me as a young girl, blowing bubble gum.

This is me as a young girl, blowing bubble gum.

As a Montessori educator, I field many questions about this unique educational approach, and contend with many misconceptions.  One that strikes a personal chord is the blanket statement that Montessorians don’t believe in competition, and thus, our children are not being trained to compete and win in the “real world.” I hear people equate the lack of external awards and class rankings inherent in Montessori education with the derivative “everyone gets a trophy” mentality that pervades our culture.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I love competition. Competition focuses me, motivates me, and thrills me—as it does many of us. But, here is where I was lucky: I grew up in the age of neighborhood backyard sports. There wasn’t an afternoon where I wasn’t engaged in a pick-up football, basketball or trampoline competition; who could ride their bike the fastest; who could climb the tree the highest. Sometimes I won, often I lost, but it was the game, the engagement, the community coming together that was the real prize. Our backyard games were multi-age. My younger brother was always included. When he was little, I looked out for him; as he got bigger, he looked out for me.

My high school tennis team.

My tennis team. I’m wearing the green sweater in the front row.

In high school, I played sports every season. We didn’t need to choose one sport because we could play them all.  My years were mapped by the sports seasons. Tennis, then basketball, then volleyball, then lacrosse, then tennis again. Most mornings, we had conditioning before school, and most afternoons, we had a practice or a game. And we had a full academic load to balance. No excuses. The priorities were clear: miss an assignment, miss a game. If you were benched, you were benched. No excuses, no parents intervened, no coaches wavered.

Competition, collaboration, and habits of mind

In some years in some sports, we were state champs. In other sports in other years, we were lucky to win a game. But always, it was the effort, the grit, the engagement, the idea of “leaving it all on the field” and “there is no ‘I’ in team” that was prized. I learned to win gratefully, and to lose gracefully. I learned that success and failure didn’t define me, but that the degree of effort and standard of excellence to which I aspired did. In short, what I learned through sports were habits of mind.  I haven’t competed in athletics since college, but those habits of mind still guide me today.

Now, as an educator at Inly, I see those same habits of mind developed through theatre; through participation in Model United Nations and science labs; through dance and visual arts; through scouts, camps, and youth groups. I have seen those same habits of mind developed in our classrooms as our students engage in and persist through personal challenges, relish in a job well done, or critically self reflect and set a new personal goal after a set back.

Maria Montessori on motivation and competition

It is clear to me that Maria Montessori was not against competition. As the first female physician in Italy, she was a woman of great drive and accomplishment. Rather, Montessori held a revolutionary idea that the adult’s role is to create a learning environment that entices children to explore and develop their potential through intrinsic motivation, and not one that uses the artificial construct of competition as motivation. She understood what behavioral scientists in the 21st century have come to know as well, that extrinsic rewards and punishments—such as grades, class ranking, and awards—are the worst kinds of motivators to sustained achievement and often work against the children they are meant to serve.

I would like to reclaim the concept of competition that I grew up with—a concept that I believe has a place in every Montessori school. I would like to remove the concept of competition from the idea of “organized.” I wish that our kids would explore spontaneous competition through play— without value judgments, identity attachment, or prizes.  I would seek to uncouple the concept of competition from the zero-sum game attitude our society has come to accept—that competition is about winners and losers—and would redirect our focus instead to the engagement rather than the outcome. I would welcome a broader understanding of competition that applies to all endeavors—not just sports—and that relies on personal discipline, true collaboration, goal setting, and critical self-assessment.

Competition and collaboration are not mutually exclusive. Not everyone wins at everything, but you can lose and still win from the experience. And ultimately, the greatest competitors are those who know how to sustain the engagement, even when no one is looking and no awards are involved.  I learned that in sports, but I now live that as a Montessorian.


Inly Middle School Rowing Team Wins Boston Harbor Youth Rowing Championship

Not So Gently Down the Stream: Middle School Rowing Team Takes the Golden Oarlock

by Martha Hicks Leta, Inly parent

In the training session before four stalwart members of the Inly Middle School Rowing Team prepared to race in the Boston Harbor Youth Rowing Championship, Hull Lifesaving Museum Director and coach, Lory Newmyer, gave it to them straight: they would be rowing against teams of high school kids, some of whom had been practicing and racing together for years; the other teams were more physically mature, stronger, tougher and more experienced; and while there was little doubt that Inly would lose, the experience would build character and would be helpful for the upcoming Ice Breaker competition.

“We will be competing against crews that are stronger racers than we,” said Newmyer in an email to the rowers leading up to the event. “But, the whole point of this event is to learn how to line up for races with several other boats, how to handle a crowded race course (and possible collisions!), and, as always, how to have fun, win or lose.”

And so, on the morning of Saturday, November 9 on the docks of Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel, the Inly Team awaited the arrival of the other racers in typical Inly style. They weren’t worked up or nervous. The talk was of upcoming tests and how their high school visits were going, and how they wished the rest of the team could be with them. “I just want to have fun today,” said Charlie McDonald, and the others agreed.

Teams from Cushing House, Green Academy, Charlestown High School, Inly and South Shore Youth Rowing

Teams from Cushing House, Green Academy, Charlestown High School, Inly School, and South Shore Youth Rowing

At the edge of the dock, several Whitehall Fours, rowing gigs that resemble smaller versions of ancient life-saving vessels, bobbed in the pewter waters that lay at the edge of Boston’s financial district. Here, America’s revolutionaries once tossed cases of precious tea in revolt against oppressive British rule. It was a lot to ponder, standing at the edge of the channel that shaped Boston’s watery history. And then rowers from Green Academy, South Shore Youth Rowing, Cushing House and Charlestown High School began filing onto the docks. They were older, bigger, and had that indefinable high school swagger.

As Inly crew members sized up the competition, another rower asked where their team was from. “Inly,” came the reply. And then, “Inly? Is that, like, a name or an acronym or something?” It’s too hard to explain, the kids seemed to decide. “It’s a Montessori school in Scituate.” The response was a dismissive, “Oh.”

Boat assignments were made and the rules for the round-robin style race announced. The Green Academy kids, three men and one woman, scrambled into a boat and shoved off for their warm up, clearly demonstrating their skills at the first dip of the oars. As they stroked through the water, like perfectly synchronized parts of a sleek machine, their strength and skill were evident. In their first heat they dusted off the competition—Cushing and one of the Charlestown teams—easily.

Then it was Inly’s turn. The crew piled into the white and blue trimmed “Mighty Cod” with Caroline Leta in the bow position, followed by John McNeil, Ali Faulkner and Charlie McDonald, with coxswain and Hull Rowing Club instructor, Bill Foley, calling commands. The race would consist of a sprint with three sharp turns around marker buoys and a straightaway sprint to the finish. The Inly team knew from Lory Newmyer’s coaching that they might collide, they might lose rhythm, they might go off course, but the instructions were, no matter what, to keep rowing and finish the race.

As the Inly crew pushed off the docks to warm up, the Firefly and Bowfin gigs loaded up with the Charlestown High women’s team, and South Shore Youth Rowing, respectively. Friends, relatives, officials and coaches stationed across from Boston’s sparkling skyline watched as the three vessels worked their way to the distant starting line where race officials, Maritime Program Director, Ed McCabe, and Home Waters Coordinator, Rafael Vieira, waited in a launch to call the start.

With the three racing gigs finally in position, an air horn blasted, signaling the start of the heat. Oars dug into the water, coxswains shouting orders, the racers were off.  South Shore got off the line first, gaining nearly a full length ahead of Inly as they approached the first buoy with the Charlestown women’s team struggling in third.  Inly held their steady second as they came into the first turn and then, somehow, amid the startled shouts of the spectators, Team Inly gained the inside, edging out the leading boat.

“They just took the lead!” a parent shouted. “That’s them in the white boat! They’re in the lead!”

Inly taking the first heat win

Inly taking the first heat win

Away from the first turn, Inly held steady, pulling toward the second marker with SSYR applying heat for the inside position for the second turn. There was a brief moment of panic and lost rhythm from the Mighty Cod as Ali Faulkner “caught a crab,” missing the water with her oar stroke and losing balance. “Keep rowing, Inly!” Newmyer hollered from the finish line. The Inly crew rallied and dug in, making way toward the third buoy.

Catching the crab

Catching the crab

Backs curved, legs and arms strained, the crew pulled and pulled, edging away, yard by yard, SSYR’s “Bowfin” in hot pursuit as the Charlestown team continued to struggle valiantly in the third place boat, “Firefly.”

“Oh, my God. They’re going to win!” Inly parent, Nancy McDonald, exclaimed as they sprinted for the finish. The parents and friends went nuts as the Inly team continued to gain distance from the second and third vessels. “Go INLY!! GO!!”

And go they did. The team came off the first heat breathing hard, but beaming from ear to ear with the very unexpected victory.  Teamwork felt good, they said. Winning with a team felt even better.

After all was said and done, Team Inly rounded out the day winning their first two heats and coming in at a respectable third in the final straightaway sprint, edged out by heavy-weights, Charlestown 2 and Green. Inly took the Lightweight category and, most unexpectedly, the big win of the day, beating out all the other teams for combined fastest time for all three races, with .33 and .38 leads over the second and third runners up, respectively.

At the end of the day, Inly’s team stood proudly for pictures with their Golden Oarlock medals hanging from their necks.  Charlie McDonald declared, “I can’t believe we actually won! This feels incredible. I never want to forget this.” They all agreed. Not bad at all for a bunch of eighth graders from a school none of the other racers had ever heard of. We think they might remember us now. Well done, Inly Rowing Team. Well done.

Team Inly, John McNeil, Charlie McDonald, Ali Faulkner, Caroline Leta, pose with their metals

Team Inly, John McNeil, Charlie McDonald, Ali Faulkner, Caroline Leta, pose with their metals

More on the Ocean Rowing Program at Inly Middle School:

Scituate’s Inly School to Compete in Icebreaker Rowing Tournament (Boston Globe South, Nov 2011)

Thoughts on Sports, Teamwork and Montessori Education

What does a former NFL football player have to do with Montessori education? Head of School Donna Milani Luther recently shared her thoughts and explained why national sports educator Joe Ehrmann was selected to kick off the 2013–14 Nelson ♦ Omran Speaker Series on October 23rd.

How does Joe’s message fit with the Inly ethos and philosophy?
He’s actually very Inly-esque in his approach to coaching, and I think it aligns perfectly with who we are as a school. We share the understanding that students learn well when there’s a sense of happiness and friendship and teamwork and love. As someone who extends that onto the coaching field, Joe presents a really interesting view.

Joe talks a lot about teamwork and collaboration and the importance of helping each other succeed… and I see a lot of similarities in our approach at Inly. Because our classrooms are multi-age, the older students are taught how to be role models and to help the younger ones. And because we’re a preK–8 school, this happens at all levels — from middle school down to preschool — as older students model kindness and leadership, teach skills and inspire younger students. The whole educational model at Inly is set up to help us all become the best we can be.

What about the role of competition in sports? Is this at odds with the Montessori-based approach at Inly?
I’ve always been one to think that you compete with yourself. If I’m doing math, I want to do math myself better the next time; I don’t need to beat the person beside me. At Inly we teach children to make personal goals and then to work hard within that framework to achieve them. Our approach is “we’re all in this together” rather than competing against one another — which leads to cooperative learning and to the kind of teamwork that I think kids need in this century.

Joe’s philosophy is that teamwork, not competition, is what it takes to succeed — both on the sports field and in life. That’s our philosophy at Inly as well.

Joe talks a lot about gender issues and the sports culture in our country. What is this all about?
He touches on this a lot — particularly in his “Be a Man” TEDx talk. It all has to do with healthy child and adolescent development, and knowing one’s true self. Joe comes from a traditional macho place and knows that the mentality is set from a young age. The “here’s what guys do in sports” message is all around us — they drink a bit too much, they act a certain way, and there’s that kind of bravado. It applies to boys in particular but all kids when they don’t have another way to identify themselves and fit in. Sometimes when kids don’t have another angle in they use sports as a shell around themselves as opposed to finding their authentic selves.

Joe’s message is about the need to transform the culture of sports, and it starts with parents and teachers and coaches sending the right message—the earlier, the better.

What do you hope parents take from this talk?
Joe presents a much more holistic approach to sports. It’s not about winning this particular game, it’s about winning your long-term personal race in life. It’s about ‘how am I going to be the best person I can be?’ and viewing sports as one vehicle to get there. I hope parents see that this kind of approach can lead to happier, healthier humans and that they help their own children get there.

What about teachers and coaches? What do you hope they take away?
We’re actually doing a pre-talk workshop for Inly teachers and coaches as well as YMCA coaches. Each teacher and coach will write a personal mission statement on how they pledge to help boys grow to men and girls grow to women and to help each child be the best they can be. Their individual statements will detail how they plan to help facilitate this back in their classrooms, gyms or out on the sports fields.

Is this a brand new collaboration with the YMCA?
Yes and no. The Joe Ehrmann talk is co-sponsored by the South Shore YMCA. But since the Y now owns the South Shore Natural Science Center, last year’s talk with Richard Louv could technically be considered our first collaboration.

As for sports programs, we’ve been lucky to be involved with the South Shore YMCA for several years. Our Upper Elementary students regularly travel to the YMCA in Hanover to do a physical fitness and life skills program; Upper Elementary and Middle School students also play in the Y’s flag football league as part of Inly’s After-School Program. It all makes for a healthy, well-rounded and developmentally-appropriate physical education and sports curriculum—both during and after school.

Read more:

Transforming the Culture of Sports: Former NFL player, named the “Greatest Coach in America,” speaks at Inly School

Inly Parent Education Talk: Joe Ehrmann on “Transforming the Culture of Sports”

Be A Man: Joe Ehrmann at TEDxBaltimore 2013

Who’s sports educator Joe Ehrmann and what’s he all about? Watch this video clip to hear his compelling message at a recent TED talk. Then read the following news story to learn more about his upcoming talk for parents, teachers and coaches:

Transforming the Culture of Sports: Former NFL player, named “The Most Important Coach in America,” speaks at Inly School Oct 23

Co-sponsored by the South Shore YMCA, this talk is open to the public. Tickets are $20 and available online at the Inly Speaker Series page. Bring your friends and spread the word!

A Glimpse of Inly at 41

By Donna Milani Luther, Head of School

Luther, DonnaThe school year ahead promises to be filled with dynamic programs and initiatives. A big piece of this will be the launch of our new strategic plan, which will act as a roadmap for the school over the next three years. In the coming months, I will provide updates in my Rhythm & News articles about the different components of the plan and how each will unfold.

In the meantime, here’s a preview of what you can expect at Inly in the 2013-14 year:

Expanded Bus Service
Inly now has an expanded bus service with stops in Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hingham. It is our hope in offering this service that we can make Inly School more accessible to the greater community and continue to draw students from these towns.

Speaker Series
The Omran • Nelson Speaker Series is in honor of two Inly faculty members, Sue Omran and Brien Nelson, who were sadly lost to cancer. Both Sue Omran and Brien Nelson were, in their own unique ways, extremely passionate about Montessori education, adult education, children, and learning. To perpetuate this speaker series in their names is a wonderful tribute to them and their ideals.

This year, to kick off the series, Inly will be welcoming esteemed speaker, Joe Ehrmann. Joe is a former professional athlete turned inspirational, speaker who works with corporate, civic and community organizations and associations to promote growth, teamwork, effectiveness, and individual responsibility. We hope to see you all on Wednesday, October 23.

Sports Initiatives
In another article in this issue, “Amping Up Sports,” you will hear from our new physical education specialist, Jabari Scutchins, and learn about the different ways we are improving the sports programs at Inly and providing more opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day and school year.

Middle School Programmatic Initiatives
This year, Inly is working with NuVu Studio in Cambridge to offer our 8th grade students a truly groundbreaking experiential learning program. For two intensive weeks, our students will work with experts and PhDs from MIT and Harvard on multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects that solve real-world problems. It is the first time NuVu Studio has worked with students younger than high school and we are honored that they have agreed to work with our students.

For the second year, Inly School is working with “Intercultural Experiences” to bring two middle school students to Inly from Guatemala. Middle School families will host the students who will attend Inly Middle School for six weeks. These students quickly become a part of and add to the Middle School community. They also work with our elementary Spanish instructor, Kaela Conroy, in her classes as a way to connect with the broader Inly community as well.  To expand this exchange experience for our students, we are also partnering with the service learning program “Con Los Ojos Abiertos” to offer our graduating 8th graders and alumni students an opportunity to work and learn in Guatemala for two weeks over the summer. There will be more information on this program in the coming months.

Parent Insight Series & Student Assemblies
This year, we will continue to offer a Parent Insight Series of educational talks designed to provide opportunities for parents to practice lifelong learning, whether about Inly and its philosophy and programs, or about parenting in general. The series will touch on topics including Montessori in the home, discussing adolescence, beyond sticks and stones, building lifelong readers and writers, and keeping learning alive.

In addition, there will be a number of student assemblies throughout the school year that are designed to complement and enrich the curriculum. This year, we have an exciting array of assembly speakers including Jacqueline Davies, author of The Lemonade War, artist Ventura Fabian and his “Dancing Chickens,” singers Alastair Moock and Mama Steph, and science exploration with EarthView.

Outdoor Classroom
In the spring of 2012 Inly expanded its campus, adding a four-acre lot of land to be used as an Outdoor Classroom for the entire school community. On Sunflower Hill, volunteers have been busy with groundskeeping, while students and teachers utilize the space for hands-on experiential learning, science classes, gardening, bird watching, and outdoor exploration both during and after school. Each level has its own curriculum developed and implemented at all levels—from Toddler and Preschool through Middle School—for expanded experiential lessons in science and integrated curriculum studies.

There is now an Outdoor Classroom Committee, which includes faculty representatives from every level of the school. Their task is to find ways to expand the school’s curriculum and to incorporate different offerings using Sunflower Hill.

In addition, Sunflower Hill is used for school-wide events, committee meetings, and parent social gatherings.

The Year Ahead
It is very exciting to see what this year and the next 40 years will hold for Inly School. The 2013-14 academic year will most certainly be filled with insightful events, new offerings, and continued growth. Please stay tuned for my future Rhythm & News updates as the school year unfolds.