Why can’t the school district just cut all after-school activities and focus on the basics of education?
We believe in a well-rounded education, and learning happens beyond the walls of the classroom. We know there are many students who come to school, not only for the math or science lesson, but the connection they have with teammates or coaches after school and the interest they have in a sport or activity. After-school activities teach students discipline, responsibility, perseverance and teamwork. They provide a sense of belonging—being part of something bigger than oneself. And activities provide students with a sense of purpose. Students learn to be accountable to their team and their coach or club advisor. Statistically, students who are involved in extracurriculars also earn better grades. In fact, of our teams/clubs and theatre groups, 22 have a 3.0 or higher cumulative group grade point average (GPA) and 14 are higher than a 3.5 team GPA.
Ask our alumni, and they will tell you that some of their most influential memories from high school were likely from co-curriculars. For example, in an interview this past December, Major General Shawn Manke, the star student in math, science and engineering, was asked what he valued most as a Cambridge-Isanti alumnus. His answer? The well-rounded opportunities he had in athletics, such as swimming and football. These programs taught him to be goal-oriented. He set goals, practiced and improved every day, and learned to be disciplined. Team sports like football provided him with a sense of belonging and camaraderie and taught him a sense of responsibility to others.
While the basics are vitally important and the foundation of our academic day, co-curriculars help develop our students into who they will be as responsible citizens and future leaders of our community. Our community values co-curricular activities, and we want our kids involved in activities and to be well-rounded.
The school district charges participation fees to offset some of the costs of co-curriculars. In addition, this year, our local First Bank and Trust stepped up to provide a $10,000 donation so that those participation fees would not increase as part of our budget-cutting process last year. Our community values co-curricular activities and wants to ensure all students can participate.