Why Extra-Curricular Activities Matter

One of my goals as an administrator is to create an atmosphere that is inviting forall students.  I want every single kid to want to come to school every day.  Here’s

Timberview Boy's Basketball team practicing before school.

Timberview Boy’s Basketball team practicing before school.

how I plan to accomplish my goal…

Encourage EVERY student to participate in at least one extra-curricular activity

I believe that students who participate in extra-curricular activities enjoy school more than those who do not.  They care more about their school because they have invested their time and talent in something that matters.  They have more friends because they have bonded with students who share their interests.  Their grades are better not just because they have to pass to participate, but also because they have learned to manage their time well, developed self-discipline, and increased self-confidence.

The Research

I don’t need anyone to show me the research to back this theory.  My research

TMS Cheerleaders

TMS Cheerleaders

comes from walking down the halls of our school every day.  But for those who don’t buy into my theory, here’s the data:

Students who participate in extracurricular activities are more likely to:

  • Have better grades (Marsh, 1992);
  • Have higher standardized test scores (Gerber, 1996);
  • Have higher educational attainment (Hanks & Eckland, 1976);
  • Attend school more regularly (Mahoney & Cairns, 1997)

Students who participate also have been found to be less likely to:

Timberview Band at the pep rally

Timberview Band at the pep rally

  • Use substances (Cooley, Henriksen, Nelson & Thompson, 1995);
  • Dropout of school (Mahoney & Cairns, 1997);
  • Misbehave at school (Marsh, 1992);
  • Commit delinquent acts (Landers & Landers, 1978)

As a band director, I was always convinced that we had the best kids in the school in our program.  If you asked the

TMS StuCo and NJHS volunteering in the community.

TMS StuCo and NJHS volunteering in the community.

coaches they would most likely argue that they had the best kids in the school.  The theater teacher would say, beyond a doubt, her students were the best.  And the student council sponsor would readily defend his students as the most outstanding young people on campus.

If sponsors of these activities feel strongly that they have “the best kids in the

Students rehearsing for the upcoming production, "Robin Hood, the Next Generation."

Students rehearsing for the upcoming production, “Robin Hood, the Next Generation.”

school,” how awesome would it be if every single student was part of one of these groups?  What if every student was told he or she was “one of the best?”

And so I’m on a mission: to offer extra-curricular activities for every student, and plug every one of them in somewhere.  We might just change the way kids feel about school!

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