Jay Jackson has been a teacher and an assistant principal at Irvington High School for the past eleven years. Currently, he acts as a World History and Sports Psychology teacher. Before working in education, Mr. Jackson secured a bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University and a Masters of Arts in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. After graduating, he coached wrestling at Stanford University for seven seasons.
Along with working at Irvington, Mr. Jackson also works with Spartan Race on Spartan Edge, the company's educational offshoot. In this position, Mr. Jackson has helped to design a curriculum for schools and camps to get students to understand their personal ideas of concepts like delaying gratification, resilience and grit. For more information on Spartan Edge, please go to
Based on a survey conducted by St. Louis University's Medical School in Spring of 2015, Irvington High School students (like many other schools across the U.S.) have unusually high levels of depression and anxiety and low levels of resilience. Irvington High School has high academic standards - this has its benefits and fallbacks. The benefits include higher test scores (which is great for the school) but the fallback is that it breeds too much competition and not enough cooperation (students are vying against each other to get spots in elite colleges). Knowing that one simple solution does not exist, we are actively trying to attack these issues with a number of methods.
One of our solutions is Spartan SGX Training. Since 2014, a certified SGX trainer, comes to our football field and/or weight room every Saturday morning to set up an obstacle course and offer free training to our school community (staff and students). Our belief and reason for the training is to attack the issues above, namely high depression and anxiety, low resilience, and not enough cooperation. The physical exercise serves to make students feel better and take students' minds off of the causes of their issues, leading to a decrease in depression and anxiety. Next, the SGX coach works to teach students to, literally, overcome obstacles with an emphasis on building resilience; if students can overcome challenges here, they should be able to translate these successes to other areas of their lives. Finally, the best bonding experience is when a group of people get out of their comfort zones together. This has already been a unique opportunity for students, staff, and parents to bond and become a stronger community.
Ty Rawlinson our SGX trainer have been donating his time and services. We feel that it is very important to have a certified SGX trainer there to make sure that people are doing things correctly to prevent injury (through over two years of sessions, some with over 90 people, we have not had any injuries). Ty and his assistant have personally built and paid for obstacles for our students and staff to use: Up-and-over walls, traverse wall, hercules hoist, army crawl area, rope climb, etc. All of this has come at no cost to the school.