DASD is visited by the voice of the Philadelphia Eagles, Merrill Reese

Philadelphia Eagles radio star, Merrill Reese, talks about mental health and diversity with DASD teachers and staff.

DOWNINGTOWN — On November 2, Downingtown Area School District (DASD) was visited by famous Philadelphian, Merrill Reese, during its annual Learning Summit.

Merrill Reese is the play-by-play radio host who has announced for the Philadelphia Eagles on SportsRadio 94.1 WIP-FM since 1977. With over 45 years in the business, he is regarded as “The Voice of the Philadelphia Eagles.” The title of his autobiography, “It’s Gooooood!,” is a reference to his well-known field goal calls as well as his personal experience while in the field.

Merrill shared his experiences dealing with mental health, diversity, equity, inclusion and leadership with teachers and staff during the district’s Learning Summit.  The annual Professional Learning Summit featured teacher learning and presenting sessions. Topics included: strategies related to DASD’s instructional vision (rigor/engagement/agency), instructional practice (assessment, high-leverage instructional strategies), utilization of instructional technology (Schoology, IXL, Flipgrid, Nearpod, etc.), and other district initiatives (student/staff wellness, equity and inclusion, etc.).

Merrill Reese spent significant time speaking about mental health, wellness and anxiety. The district has made great strides in these areas, and Reese addressed the importance of these changes in his comments. “The medical problems of depression and anxiety are no different than the physical ailments that beset us over the years.” He went on to talk about how mental health has affected the league and how educators can use this knowledge to help their students in every-day situations.

Another staple of the DASD community in the 2021 school year has been the district-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Merrill was asked by DEI Director, Justin Brown, “Our district has taken a huge leap in DEI initiatives. We’ve also seen the league take huge strides as well. Can you tell us why diversity and inclusion are important?” Merrill answered by describing the difference between equity and equality, explaining, “Equity is giving each person the tools that he or she needs to bring them to the highest level… I think the NFL is constantly striving to do this…”

During the question-and-answer session that followed his presentation, Merrill was able to touch upon his leadership and passion. Learning support teacher, Jynelle Sass, asked Merrill, “In our district, student leaders are important. We want our students to show up as their authentic selves and to take ahold of all of the opportunities that are afforded to them. In broadcasting, I’m sure you have had to show your leadership skills as well. Why do you think it’s crucial to show leadership in your occupation?” Merrill responded by saying, “To get the best results of whatever your mission is and to better yourself as an individual, and to rise and achieve whatever you are capable of achieving, leadership has to be very important. I am also the executive producer of the entire Eagles broadcast and I feel to get the best work out of everybody, you have to be a leader. You have to be somebody who people want to emulate what they see.”

During his presentation, Reese was full of humor, understanding and compassion for those in the field of education. Teachers walked away from this once-in-a-lifetime experience with valuable skills and key points that they can use in the classroom and beyond.

To learn more about DASD’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, and to see examples of its program in action, please visit www.dasd.org/diversity. To learn more about Mental Health supports in DASD, please visit www.dasd.org/mentalhealth.

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