Parents, students and staff at Plano ISD seem to agree: matching athletic uniforms and mascots are the way to go.

During a Feb. 7 PISD board meeting, PISD Athletic Director Jeff Smith gave an update on the athletic alignment program—an initiative that seeks to promote unity, teamwork and participation among student athletes.

For Smith, a crucial part of achieving unity is to have student athletes represent the same team and sport the same colors. As it stands, PISD’s ninth and 10th grade students have different athletic uniforms, mascots and colors from the 11th and 12th grade students. The athletic alignment program would make it so each high school matches its respective feeder senior high school.

“There’s strength, unity and cohesion in all being on the same team and fighting for the same brand,” Smith said. “One team, one nation, one brand.”

Members of the PISD school board showed support for the athletic alignment program and a survey for parents, students and staff was posted to PISD’s website Jan. 12-26.

Survey results showed that the community also supported the program:
  • Survey participants: 3,669 total. 1,533 parents, 1,551 students, 427 staff members, 66 former parents, 50 former students and 42 community members.
  • 2,501 agreed that seeing teams wearing different colors, names or mascots on the playing field appears disconnected, disorderly and lacks cohesion. 846 said no and 522 answered neutral.
  • 2,797 agreed that aligning team names, colors and mascots would increase school spirit and unity within 9-12 student groups. 460 said no and 412 answered neutral.
  • 2,576 supported the alignment of the 9-10 high school campuses with their feeder senior high schools by changing team names, colors and mascots to create vertical unity and brand. 562 said no and 531 answered neutral.
Under the athletic alignment program, the following changes would take place:
  • Clark High School (Cougars) and Vines High School (Vikings) would match Plano Senior High (Wildcats).
  • McMillen High School (Lions) and Williams High School (Warriors) would match Plano East Senior High (Panthers).
  • Jasper High School (Jaguars) and Shepton High School (Stallions) would match Plano West Senior High (Wolves).
Currently, the athletic alignment program applies to athletics only, meaning other departments such as fine arts will not be impacted. Should the district proceed with the program, athletic uniforms, names, colors and mascots will match their respective feeder senior high school. This will include cheer uniforms. According to Smith, the money for the uniforms is “already budgeted for” and will not cost the district any additional funds.

Smith said future plans include repainting the gym floors, updating signage and redesigning the high schools so they match the senior highs.

“This is a big initiative,” Smith said. “We know that it’s no small task but we’re up for the task.”