Some Why’s and How’s of Student Involvement
The last PTA meeting featured the “Turning Points” Presentation by Attea, Springman, and Glenbrook South principals. If you couldn’t attend that presentation there’s another one on October 15 at 7pm at Attea. One of the dominant themes of the presentation focuses on the dynamic growth and needs of our young adults and the things schools and parents can do to support them. One very positive influence is a student’s involvement in school.
Why and how should a middle schooler get involved with school activities? After all, there’s homework to complete, outside-of-school activities, and family time all competing for a slot in a student’s day. All true, and all worthy options that present potential obstacles to a student’s involvement in school. Nevertheless, what also remains true is that getting involved in school activities provides numerous benefits. From kids who are already involved but could learn something new, to students who aren’t involved at all, there are many reasons and options for school involvement. We’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions.
Organization and Prioritizing. Parents know all too well the challenge of juggling limited time and multiple tasks. Kids need to develop this ability as well, and middle school is an excellent opportunity to kick this training into high gear. When we see kids struggle with their academics it is often because they lack organization and follow-through. For many kids, involvement in school activities provides additional structure to their schedule and adds focus to the use of their time. Perhaps this approach may help your child maximize her or his success.
Stretching Themselves. Some students are already involved, yet they may stay only with things with which they are already familiar and/or experienced. We feel quite fortunate to offer a healthy variety of school activities, and one of the great opportunities of middle school is the chance to step out of one’s comfort zone and try something new. An athlete that auditions for the school musical. A math wizard that tries out Art Club. An artist that creates work for the school’s literary arts publication. Activities have different time frames and expectations so that kids can often participate in a couple things at the same time. They’ll never know unless they try it out.
Meeting New People. When kids stay within their comfort zone (for that matter, adults as well), we tend to meet only those people with whom we may already have things in common. This is not a bad thing, but it can be a missed opportunity. School activities provide an excellent chance to spend time with new people. And as we seek to fulfill the District’s mission of helping students become “self directed learners and responsible decision makers,” learning how to meet new people and getting to know them is an important ingredient.
Of course, we’re always exploring more ideas and more ways to get students involved, have fun and to be successful in middle school. Each school’s website contains information about clubs, intramurals, and athletics. These activities, coupled with a steady stream of special events and opportunities throughout the year, can foster the learning and well-rounded growth we hope to see in all of our students.
Ms. Allyson Thorne, Acting Principal, Springman Middle School
Mr. Mark Richter, Principal, Attea Middle School