MADISON, Neb. (AP) -- Administrators and coaches at a northeast Nebraska high school are taking a new approach this year to both encourage participation in sports and to build understanding with the large immigrant community.
Coaches at Madison High School have been visiting the homes of student athletes as the spring sports season approaches. The main goal of the visits has been to share the message that the school cares about the students, the Norfolk Daily News reported .
"No one else is doing anything like this in a public school," said Reid Ehrisman, the school's athletic director. "But our needs are different at Madison."
Ehrisman said coaches visited about 60 percent of spring season athletes at their homes. The visits mostly consisted of talking about schedules, practicing and expectations.
"Not only were students excited, but their little siblings and family were excited, too," said Casey Wolta, the boys' soccer coach. "We don't get to meet the parents and families very often."
Ehrisman said that building a bridge between American and Hispanic cultures is an important reason for the visits, as more than 80 percent of Madison's student body is Hispanic.
There hasn't been a lot of feedback on the visits yet, but many families have welcomed coaches into their homes, he said. Coaches plan to continue making home visits, especially in the fall.
"Many families aren't taking their kids to the (YMCA) every weekend," Ehrisman said. "We're trying to promote and instill the value of sport into our students and families."