10.02.2012 Musings from a School Board Member No Comments

Chicken or egg?

You know the old paradox about which comes first.

How about student or athlete?

This fall, Tully’s sports teams—all of our sports teams—had remarkable success on the field, the pitch, and the course. They all qualified for their respective sectional playoffs or post-season events, and our community was and is rightfully proud of their accomplishments.

But did you know that each of our six fall sports teams might have had an even more remarkable success? Every varsity fall team qualified for the NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete Team Award. What does this mean? The football, golf, boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer, boys’ cross-country, and girls’ cross country teams each had a team GPA of at least 90. From the recollection of coaches, the athletic director, teachers, and parents, this hasn’t happened—ever—in Tully, and from conversations I’ve had with board members at other school districts, this is, indeed, rare. What an accomplishment!

Anecdotally, we know that extracurricular activities serve an important role for our students. For many, they provide opportunities to form new relationships with people they might not normally interact with, or opportunities to develop and demonstrate leadership skills; for others, they’re an outlet for creative expression; for some, the “extras” might provide the incentive they need to “hang in there” and keep their grades up, in order to continue to participate.

Research validates this. Numerous studies over the decades report a positive correlation between participation in extracurricular activities, including sports, music, drama, and other clubs, and better academic attitudes, higher academic aspirations, and higher academic achievement. In part, this comes from the engagement and connection students form with each other and with their school; this is enhanced by the interest and involvement their parents and family take in their activities, which is crucial to student success.

We have such a high level of participation in extracurricular activities of all types in our student body in Tully. If it were measured, I have little doubt that our “team” GPA in band, and chorus, and drama, and art club would qualify them for “scholar/performer” team awards, as well.

Chicken, or egg?

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