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In 1989, the American Sports Institute began pilot-testing a unique concept: improve middle and high school students’ performance in school by bringing the positive aspects of sport culture into the classroom. Called Promoting Achievement in School through Sport (PASS), the PASS program is comprised of a daily, yearlong systematic student curriculum, an intense three-week teacher training program, and careful evaluation.

Frank Gold, former principal at Tamalpais High School where PASS was introduced early on, says, “PASS is a concrete program that has proven that it works.” And, after evaluating PASS, researchers at a division of the U.S. Department of Education concluded that, “The sound, research-based practices that are incorporated in the PASS program were demonstrated to pay off for students and teachers alike, thus making it a model for total school reform.”

The Need

Parents and teachers of young children are concerned about improving their students’ abilities to concentrate and stay focused, creating safe environments where students treat each other with respect, and developing strong character and confidence. Upon recognizing these elements in the PASS program, many people asked, “Why not introduce PASS at an earlier age?”

ASI’s Response

In response to this need, in 1999, ASI created the firstPASS program for elementary school teachers and their students. By participating in the firstPASS activities, students improve attitudes and/or skills in these areas:

  • Concentration
  • Responsibility
  • Acting individually and as an integral part of a group
  • Self-discipline
  • Respect for surroundings
  • Personal presence and leadership
  • Empathy and respect for others


The attitudes and skills addressed in firstPASS are developed through a carefully structured set of activities that, on a daily basis, challenge, engage, and motivate students to do their best individually and as a team. The routines include physical, mental, and social/emotional activities that can easily be incorporated into the beginning and end of the school day, and contribute to success and fulfillment throughout the day.

1 min. Clap-In to provide a ceremony that enables the students to begin class as a single unit, creating class cohesiveness and mutual respect between the students and teacher.
2-5 min.. Concentration Practice to develop focus, discipline, relaxation, and alertness in order to physically and mentally prepare the students for learning.
6 min. Light Physical Warm-Up Activities to oxygenate the blood and develop focus, discipline, relaxation, and alertness in order to physically and mentally prepare the students for learning.
4 min. Student of the Day to enhance self-esteem and create class cohesiveness and mutual respect in order to improve overall behavior, including empathy and tolerance.
1 min. Clap-Out, lead by the Student of the Day, to provide a ceremony that enables the students to end class as a single unit, creating class cohesiveness, respect for other classmates, and a sense of personal presence and power.

Professional Development Training

firstPASS teachers are trained in a two-phase process. Phase 1 requires 18 hours of training, and Phase 2 requires three hours of follow-up training.

Phase 1 Teachers receive training; firstPASS: A Teacher’s Guide, which contains comprehensive lesson plans; and a complete set of materials and supplies.
Phase 2 Input and feedback session with teachers to deal with problems, issues, and concerns; follow-up training to refine techniques used in class.
After Phase 2, ASI provides ongoing technical support.


$960 per teacher. Includes hands-on training and manual, and all materials and supplies.

For More Information

Contact the American Sports Institute at 415-383-5750, or


Click here to make a secure, online donation in support of the firstPASS program. This will take you to the Donation page. Once there, select ‘firstPASS’ in the drop-down menu for ‘My donation is in support of.’  Thank You.