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The United Skate Schools Group
A New Professional Organization for Skating Schools

The United Skate Schools Group was formed in January of 2005 by a group of top skating instructors and examiners formerly affiliated with the International Inline Skating Association.

It was bad news for inline skaters and skating instructors when the International Inline Skating Association (IISA) closed its doors abruptly in December of 2004, but now there is a new professional organization for skating schools and instructors. The United Skate Schools Group (USSG) was formed in January of 2005 by some of the top officials and instructors of the former IISA.

People Behind the New Organization
USSG was the brainchild of top IISA instructor examiner Janet Miller Sheehan of Southern California, who is also the director of the new organization. The board of advisors for the new group includes IISA founder Dean Kaese, IISA/ICP Director Kristine Fondran, The director of the European ICP Bertie Demps, and four of the IISA's top instructor examiners including United States national racing champion Heather Lacayo, extreme sports consultant Bettina Bigelow, skating and skiing instructor examiner Debbie Sumner, and skate school owner Krista Heubush.

Instructor Certification
The USSG is not currently planning to certify instructors, but they will require members to be certified by one of several different sports instructor certifying agencies, which at the present time includes the former IISA/ICP, the new USA Inline Fit, USA Roller Sports, the United States Figure Skating Association, the Ice Skating Institute, USA Hockey, and the Professional Ski Instructors of America. This list may change over time.

Insurance and Professional Resources
USSG will provide the kind of skate school level insurance that is not currently being offered by USA Inline Fit, and a newsletter with articles and information about starting a full-scale skating school and making it successful.

An Organization for All Roller Sports
Unlike the former IISA, which only provided resources for inline skating instructors, the USSG will be a professional organization for skate schools providing inline skating, quad roller skating, and skateboarding instruction.

An Interview With the Founder

In this February 2005 interview, USSG founder Janet Miller Sheehan answers many of the questions instructors and the skating public will undoubtedly have about the new organization.

SkateLog Editor Kathie Fry: When the IISA shut down in December of 2004, they turned their instructor certification and insurance program over to USA Inline Fit. Why did you feel a need to start yet another organization for skating instructors?

USSG Founder Janet Miller Sheehan:
Janet Miller Sheehan The idea and need for the USSG came out of my experience with the lack of resources left for my corporation in December. I was able to get skate school level insurance for my own company, but knew others would need assistance. The idea for the USSG evolved quickly into what you can see today at UnitedSkateSchools.org.

Kathie: What exactly is the United Skate Schools Group?

Janet: USSG is a membership organization for skate schools and instructors that provides education for the sports of inline skating, roller skating and skateboarding. Our vision is to create a support system for the expansion of companies that offer this instruction. The foundation of USSG was created out of a need for a community where instructors and skate school owners could come together to share ideas, to learn, and to grow.

Kathie: What benefits will members receive?

Janet: United Skate Schools Group will provide special member pricing on products, the protection of quality insurance, professional resources, and much more. USSG has a panel of the industry's leading professionals, dedicated to helping the professional growth of skate school owners and instructors. USSG's strategic advisors will offer tips on teaching your sport, hiring and training instructors, as well as mastering business and management skills. Members will receive the latest information on grass-roots advertising, marketing, and student retention incentives. We serve our members with an online directory, a detailed skate school member page, online resources, e-newsletters, professional discounts, business education, and professional recognition.

Kathie: Will USSG publish a directory of skating instructors?

Janet: The USSG will provide an online directory of instructors and skate schools. Instructor level members will receive an email address link and the skate school level members will receive their own web page with information on the member skate school including contact info, a link to the Skate School's URL, a list of instructors that teach for that skate school, a picture, their logo, a description of their school, and more.

Kathie: Will USSG certify instructors?

Janet: USSG does not currently offer a certification program however USSG does require that skate school owners and instructors carry an instructor certification from at least one of a variety of disciplines which at this time even includes qualifications from USA Inline Fit and the former IISA/ICP.

Kathie: Is USSG an organization for United States instructors only, or are instructors from every country invited to join?

Janet: Skate schools and instructors everywhere are welcome to join, however at this time the Web site and materials are offered only in English and the commercial general liability insurance we offer is only available in Canada and the United States.

Kathie: Starting a new professional organization for skate schools is a big endeavor. What skills and experience have prepared you to take on this challenge?

Janet: Over the past six years, I have been on several boards and served as Vice-chair Commissioner on the El Segundo City Planning Commission. I had to oversee complicated and sometimes controversial community issues that included projects involving the Los Angeles Air Force Base, the Chamber of Commerce, Mattel, Boeing, Los Angeles International Airport, and the revitalization of downtown El Segundo. This experience joined with my years as an IISA Examiner and owner/operator of California Skate School, Inc. ground me with a strong foundation for leadership and organization.

For more information about the United Skate Schools Group visit their official Web site at UnitedSkateSchools.org.

Talk About the United Skate Schools Group in Our Forum
A discussion in the SkateLog Forum at AskAboutSkating.com

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