Sports media and management CTE program kicks off this fall

Posted 4/5/22

Three years of hard work finally paid off last week when Cranston East received approval to run its CTE Sports Media and Management pathway program starting next fall. Literacy and sports media …

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Sports media and management CTE program kicks off this fall


Three years of hard work finally paid off last week when Cranston East received approval to run its CTE Sports Media and Management pathway program starting next fall. Literacy and sports media teacher Kenneth Simone developed the program along with the support of Vice Principal Chris D’Ambrosio. The new CTE pathway will help students develop skills in sports journalism, broadcasting and management of sporting events.

Simone said many  students have a passion for sports but may be unaware of how they can continue to be involved in something they enjoy other than being on the field.

“Playing days end at some point,” said Simone, noting that there are plenty of opportunities to still be surrounded by athletics.

Simone has taught in Cranston since 2000 and spent 26 years as a football coach – 16 of which were at Cranston East. He is the public address announcer for East, The Prout School, Rhode Island Interscholastic League and Brown University. He also runs East’s Thunderbolt sports media account.

Simone started forming the CTE program after retiring from coaching. With more free time on his hands and a conversation with D’Ambrosio about getting more students involved with the presentation of athletic events, the pathway came to fruition.

Simone connected with John Rooke, the director of Dean College’s Kraft Center of Business, Entertainment and Sports Management, since the college offered a partnership with high schools on sports media and management. Rooke is the public address announcer for the Patriots and is the radio play-by-play voice for the Providence Friars. Simone also found a few students interested in announcing, broadcasting and working behind the scenes and formed the Thunderbolt sports media club.

Cranston’s pathway program mimics Dean College’s curriculum and focuses on reading and literacy – giving students exposure to public speaking, broadcasting and the managing side of sports. Simone said in the industry there is a lack of people who can truly plan and coordinate an event, so East’s pathway gives students a chance to experience the different sides of the industry.

As for specific topics, students will learn the style of sports journalism, column writing, covering games, broadcasting and spoken word. Simone said during this time, individuals will start to see who wants to be in front of the microphone and who wants to be in supporting roles.

From planning an event, supervising and executing events and helping with ticket sales, it seems that everything is on the table to help students gain exposure to the business of sports; the pathway program will also include an internship that can be done with a community partner or in partnership with the school.

Simone received approval to run a pilot program last spring, by teaching sports media – the first pathway course – to 15 kids. This past fall, he ran an additional course.

“I specifically asked for the fall because the more live events that are occurring, the more content we have to write about them and analyze them,” Simone said.

Simone said kids in the sports media class are excited to move forward within the program, and the school is currently in the mode of recruiting students. There will be three educators teaching this pathway program including Simone and Pete Silva. They are looking to fill the last spot and have someone in mind for the position.

As for how to qualify for the pathway program, Simone said as of right now, the prerequisite is to successfully complete grade nine English and a teacher recommendation. Simone said the current freshmen will be able to fully complete the pathway and that the school will allow sophomores and juniors to take classes to build enrollment.

Simone also noted the students from the Thunderbolt sports media club who were dubbed the ‘OGs of sports media’ played a role in helping this program come together. There are roughly 10 students currently in the club, and they broadcast games at Cranston Stadium or the Cranston East gym, service the play by play, track statistics and take photos. They give sports updates in the morning during school announcements and Simone credits them for also inspiring the pathway program. He said his first sports media group worked so hard to set up a legacy for those who would be part of the future program – even if they were not at Cranston East to experience it.

“That’s been the coolest thing in the world,” Simone said.

He emphasized the importance of exposing students to the media and management side of sports, saying that Mo Holtzman, a student in Simone’s OG group, earned rave reviews for his play-by-play abilities doing Cranston East games, and was even asked to broadcast at other high schools after administrators heard him on air. He went on to study at Syracuse University to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.

“If we don’t provide something extra to hone the craft for them, then we’re not doing our jobs in giving them everything we can. If we’re reaching one student, then it’s worth it,” Simone said.

There is also current talent at East. Simone said Tim Yean (class of 2024) is the Thunderbolt Media Club’s primary play-by-play announcer for Cranston East sports, gives sports updates two to three times a week during morning announcements, fills in as a public address announcer if Simone is unavailable and is an outstanding writer. He also noted Charlie Adams (class of 2024) and his writing abilities. Adams covers football and basketball games, “turning out game reports like a seasoned professional.”

“They both have extraordinary abilities for their age, so the chance to develop those skills and explore career possibilities is perfect for them,” Simone said.

sports media, CTE


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