Brian Krauss joined us this year as Congressional School’s Director of Physical Education and Athletics. With a pandemic in full swing, it has not been the easiest of years to take on this important role with few opportunities to meet parents and get to know the extended community. We caught up with Coach Krauss and asked him a few questions to share his perspective at the end of a unique yet successful school year.
Why are physical activity and athletics important to student development?
There are many life lessons to be learned from athletic participation such as problem-solving, teamwork, and overcoming adversity. Our role is not just to help students become better athletes but to help them in all areas of their lives.
What is your vision for Physical Education and Athletics at Congressional?
With this being my first year, my goal has been to first observe the programs before devising a plan going forward. This has been challenging this year, as I’ve not been able to observe these programs as they normally are.
My goal is to meet each student at their level and to help them grow as an athlete. Winning is not the goal, especially in the beginning. If we do the work and we keep at it, games will eventually be won. Success to me is measured by school spirit and I see that as a big part of my job. This year has been a challenge in that regard but my goal is to keep growing the energy and spirit at the school. I also look at preparing kids to be ready to play at the next level. My hope is that more will go on to participate in sports at high school.
Are there opportunities and roles for students at all skill levels?
here is a role on the team for everyone in Athletics. Some students may be shy about playing at games in front of people but that doesn’t mean they can’t be involved. They can help run drills and join in a wide variety of ways.
In what ways do you instill positive attitudes and habits in student-athletes?
I believe that being a good role model is most important. I heard a quote recently that rings very true, ‘well done is better than well said.’ My goal is to inspire students and I believe in acknowledging positive behavior.
What has been the most challenging aspect of teaching and athletics this year?
I’m missing having the games and it has been hard to build school spirit without them. It has been tough for the students as well but we added a wider variety of sports this year to keep it fresh for the students. It has also been tough not having the normal level of contact with parents.
Now that the middle school is competing in their grade-level cohorts, parents have been allowed to come to campus to watch. The students are mostly approaching these games as an opportunity to have fun. It’s been hard this year without the incentive that the games provide. The students have worked on skill building but have missed the valuable experience that interscholastic games offer.
In his spare time, Coach Krauss likes to quilt. He's pictured above talking to 3rd graders about quilt making as the students prepared for a quilting unit in art class.
Has there been a silver lining to the pandemic?
Teaching all grades has provided an opportunity to get to know all the students and that will be beneficial as they move up and become members of our athletic teams.
What do you find most rewarding about being an athletic director?
It is the small things that stand out the most. I had a kindergarten student who just couldn’t skip and we had been working on this skill. All of a sudden he got it. The light bulb went off and he figured it out. That made my week!
I also love the enthusiasm. There is one student at drop off who always asks me if she has PE today. She’s so disappointed if I say no, and excited when I say yes. Seeing the students’ enthusiasm for PE class is very rewarding.
Director of Physical Education and Athletics