After-school Activities


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BENEFITS OF AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Research proves that students who participate in sports and extra-curricular activities receive positive benefits, including:

        • Increased GPA and test scores
        • Improved attendance
        • Increased civic participation
        • Increased college aspirations and enrollment
        • Improved mental and physical health
        • Lower drug and alcohol use
        • Decreased risk-taking behavior

How will this affect day-to-day life for our students?

Questions Regarding TTF Proposal to Change Start Times

What will happen to after-school activities?

What would happen to the activities currently scheduled for that hour?

If activities are moved to before the school day, will bus transportation be provided?

What will happen to athletic activities that use Fairfax County facilities for practice?

What about Middle School students - valuable after-school programs will be lost; students will walk home after dark, etc.?

What will happen to high-school after-school activities?

High-school students now have an hour after school before athletic practices begin. They use that hour for:

  • Study sessions – both group sessions and one-on-one tutoring with teachers
  • Academic clubs – writing, Latin, science, ecology, It’s Academic, forensics, debate
  • Rehearsals – jazz band, chorus groups, drama, and other music and fine arts activities

That hour of time is not wasted or empty; thousands of students and

hundreds of teachers are engaged in important, academic extra-curricular activities.

Under the proposed bell schedule, many athletic programs would begin immediately after school to take advantage of daylight, and so that activities don’t extend too far into the evening. (Evening activities, such as meetings, performances, competitions and other activities would not be able to be pushed even later in the evening hours.)

What would happen to the activities currently scheduled for that hour?

Possibility 1 -- The activities are still scheduled for the hour immediately after school.

This implies that students must now choose between after-school activities: either attend regular study sessions for World History, or participate on the field hockey team. Either be a member of the jazz band, or participate on the basketball team.

Guidance counselors and college admissions officers recommend strongly

that high-school students participate in athletics and extra-curricular activities.

This solution means that students must limit their activities.

Possibility 2 -- Activities are moved to before school.

Obviously, if activities are moved to before school, students don’t get any extra sleep, and teachers face a longer work day. These activities may be voluntary, but for many students, study sessions, SOL-review sessions, and academic clubs are a critical part of their overall learning experience.

Over 70% of FCPS high-school students participate in extra-curricular activities.

If activities are moved to before the school day, will bus transportation be provided?

If bus transportation is provided, has that been budgeted into the current proposal? How does that bus requirement conflict with getting elementary school students to school? Will elementary school students ride buses with high-school and middle-school students?

If bus transportation is not provided, how will students get to the activities? Some families will be able to make arrangements, but there’ll be a disparity in how different demographic and economic groups can take advantage of school activities.

An indirect effect of moving activities to before school, especially if

transportation is not provided, is that attendance at the activities will wane, and the

activities will eventually be eliminated.

 

What will happen to athletic activities that use Fairfax County facilities for practice?

It already has been suggested that swim and dive would have to be eliminated, because the county recreation centers couldn’t handle demand for practice times during what would be the peak use time for County residents. Although a few schools can now practice later in the day, having ALL county high school swim and dive teams demand time during peak-use would be prohibitive.  Sports that depend on County facilities include: swim, dive, softball, tennis, golf, and indoor track.

 

What about Middle School students - valuable afer-school programs will be lost; students will walk home after dark, etc.?

  • The after-school programs in middle schools, that have contributed to the educational success of many students on SOL test scores, would probably have to be cut.  These programs were set up in an effort to prevent gang activity from spreading throughout the communities. 
  • Middle-school walkers would now be walking home in the dark, which is a major safety issue.  (Middle-school students could be dismissed as late as 4:30 for regular dismissal, and 5:30 if they stay after school for study sessions.)
  • There would be almost no time in the schedule for after-school programs such as music and arts and rehearsals for theatre and music programs?  What about kids who need extra time at school for access to technology?
  • MS kids are involved in many after school activities and lessons outside of school including Tae Kwon Do, sports, music, tutoring services, dance, volunteer work, language school.  They will no longer be available to take these.

This is a summary from the CAREI report out of Minneapolis on the impact to the middle schools when they shifted to a 9:40 am start time - same as that proposed for FCPS   click here