Voices of the Nation: March 2015

By on March 10, 2015 hst Print

As a school board member, what do you see as the benefits of high school activity programs to the local community?

Anne Byrne, School Board Member
Nanuet Union Free School District
Nanuet, New York

Communities not only cheer on the athletes at their sporting endeavors and come to the art show to marvel at our creative students’ art work or are present for the performing arts whether it is the spring musical or the orchestra or band recitals, they also directly benefit by the activities our students perform to better the community. There are food, clothing and blood drives and fund-raisers that are initiated and worked on by these students.
After-school activities are vital to the health of a school district and to the students who participate. That is why it is so important that we keep alive athletics and performing arts in each school. Children come to school for many reasons, but to come because you have been inspired by what happens after school is a plus for increasing student achievement.


David A. Pickler, Past President
National School Boards Association

I steadfastly believe that the public school is the cornerstone of our democracy. I further believe that the heartbeat of the majority of communities across America lies within the local public high school. These local high schools are a centerpiece of community pride and a connector for generations of citizens. They reflect local values, local priorities and are the incubator for future leaders.
High school activity programs are the linkage between our public schools and the communities they serve. They engage our students in service learning and empower personal and leadership development. They are conduits of support for significant community needs. But most importantly, these programs help strengthen the fabric of the community by preparing the students of today for engaged citizenship and community leadership.


Karl M. Johanson, Ph.D., School Board Member
Pullman School District 267
Pullman, Washington

Successful high school activity programs promote a philosophical balance in a community closely tied to Washington State University. Despite WSU’s academic focus, there is growing local awareness of research that documents low correlation that SAT scores and GPA have in predicting success after graduation. Instead, involvement in high school activities is highly correlated with success.
Pullman High provides students with opportunities to demonstrate classroom excellence and success in school activities. For 10 consecutive years, PHS is one of only two public schools, in any size classification, to rank in the Scholastic Cup’s top five. The Cup, sponsored by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, awards points equally, based on a team’s GPA and on advancement in statewide athletic and activities competitions.


Keith Nance, School Board Member
Portsmouth City School Board
Portsmouth, Virginia

The primary community benefit of high school activity programs is that students learn to form communities within the high school itself. The activity programs generally go beyond the measurable academic rigor and teach students about teamwork, networking, respect, goal-setting and leadership – to mention a few attributes.
High school activity programs prove that WE produce more than one dimensional students. These programs provide a constructive outlet for our youth. They keep students engaged. Activity programs also act as the glue that keeps some kids in school and off of the street or out of jail. 