Football season has arrived and once again I am reminded, I really enjoy the game. In fact, I have always felt athletics offered kids incredible opportunities to experience what it was like to be on a team working toward a common goal – as a participant through my college years, a coach during my teaching years and now an active watcher and analyzer. The lessons learned are what young people can take with them everywhere they go as they begin to compete in the world: lessons of commitment, sacrifice and resilience mixed in with a little courage.
As we launch a new school year, I am also reminded that it isn’t just sports that provide positive, extracurricular experiences for our students. Within our schools, we have highly successful performing arts, visual arts, debate and speech, various clubs and a plethora of organizations to suit just about every interest. I am always excited when I speak to students and they proudly tell me what their interests are outside of the classroom. Involvement in activities and extra-curriculars undoubtedly strengthens a student’s attendance as well as their work in the classroom.
I believe we must consider it is the development of the “whole” child that matters most, especially in this age of testing and assessing student progress – an age when we use numbers that sometimes place poorly contrived labels on students who perhaps need positive reinforcement the most. We have to remember that the greater school experience can be a better predictor for student success than just an assessment score, something sometimes difficult to illuminate in the midst of a blizzard of data releases and school report cards.
I am proud of all that we offer our students and grateful to all of our coaches and club sponsors who go above and beyond to teach students how to compete and perform on all sorts of stages. It is yet another reason why Lincoln Public Schools is such a unique and special school district.