The Ocean Township School District was able to fund their Esports Program with money they received from the state in Stabilization Aid. S2 Districts were able to apply for Stabilization Aid to help offset the reduction in State Aid due to the S2 Legislation. During the 22-23 School year, The Township of Ocean School District applied for $2,378,950 in Stabilization Aid and received an award of $1,269,450. Approximately $100,000 of this award was allocated for the purpose of the Esports Lab.
Garden State Esports was created by New Jersey educators. The New Jersey Esports schedule follows the traditional conference and group size to compete against local schools. There are currently 300 schools (approximately 160 districts) in the league. In Monmouth and Ocean County there are 25 high schools and 20 middle schools participating. This new program is partnering with the New Jersey School Board Association and the New Jersey Department of Education.
The Township of Ocean Intermediate School Esports advisors are Logan Singleton and Mike Huston. The Ocean Township High School Esports advisor is Joseph Maffei. At the high school, two sections of this course will run this school year, one each semester. The classes are at capacity, and included all interested students. Dual Enrollment for this course could be offered for our students in the future.
There are many scholarship opportunities for students participating in Esports. Over 200 Colleges have programs and there are over $15 million in scholarships currently being offered to students. Approximately 300 colleges have Esports programs. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have Esports teams and leagues for service men and women. 32 Colleges in New Jersey alone support Esports programs. About half of those
programs are associated with Garden State Esports. OTHS currently has dual enrollment relationships with four universities that have Esports programs.
According to Erin Leahy, Supervisor of Educational Technology, Innovation and Visual and Performing Arts, “The Ocean Township School District is very excited to provide our students with the opportunity to pursue their passion for Esports during the school day and as an extracurricular activity. We are proud to offer this unique avenue for students to develop critical skills such as teamwork, communication, and strategic thinking in a digital environment. The competitive nature of Esports fosters a sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship, promoting positive social interactions among students. Additionally, incorporating Esports into school curricula provides an inclusive platform that recognizes and celebrates diverse talents, catering to a broader range of student interests and aptitudes.”
The Ocean Township School District is joining a large group of schools participating in this new arena for competition. The district aims to cultivate a community of passionate gamers who embrace diversity, collaborate effectively, exhibit strong leadership qualities, and embody the values of respect, integrity, and resilience. They are off to a great start!