The recommendations in a preliminary report on Canton athletics include phasing out the private funding of sports programs, gradually reinstating middle school sports, making the athletic director’s position full time and evaluating the idea of a single booster club.
Tuesday night Superintendent of Schools Kevin Case presented the Board of Education with some findings of the Athletic Self Study Preliminary report. The final report will be out soon and posted on the district web site. The district certainly can not implement everything at once and is not obligated to follow all suggestions, Case said later in the meeting.
The voluntary study was conducted from May to November of 2012 under the guidance of a steering committee with coaches, parents, administrators, athletic director Dee Stephan and others. It included an internal evaluation, parent focus groups, surveys, a visit from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and more.
Using CIAC standards, the preliminary report includes commendations and recommendations in several areas including guiding program principles, program curriculum, program resources and equity, program administration and program and player evaluation.
The athletic program was commended for numerous aspects, including its clear expectations for students, coaches and administrators, good sportsmanship, the effort of some coaches to follow the academic progress of athletes, the positive support of a program that engages 58 percent of students, the track and field initiative, the relationship between the school and the town’s Park and Recreation Department.
The CIAC is reviewing the preliminary report and the final version should be available by early February and posted on the district’s web site.
Case said, however, that he felt comfortable with sharing the recommendations.
Case also said he wanted to present the study findings since he will soon be discussing budget needs, which may incorporate some of the suggestions.
Board members asked a few questions and offered some comments.
One concern expressed was the idea to gradually phase out the private funding of boys football, girls and boys lacrosse and girls volleyball programs.
“We don’t have the resources to take on four more teams,” Carlene Rhea said.
The idea of possibly eliminating some sports also came up and some members said that the board should look at data about teams, cost, participation and offerings at other schools to evaluate if the high school had the right number of sports.
Member Patti White also asked if the board had the right to pass on some of the recommendations.
Absolutely, Case said.
“You are not mandated to do everything this report is recommending,” he said.
And those the district does want to pursue will take time, Case said.
“We’re not going to be a able to create an action plan to address all the recommendations at once," Case said.
In a few cases, such as a single booster club, discussions are already in progress, Case said.
Still, Case said the voluntary study has provided some valuable suggestions and an honest look at where the district is doing well and where it can improve.
“We volunteered to be part of this process under the umbrella of continuous improvement,” Case said. “We want to be better tomorrow than we are today."
Once the final report is releases, an action plan will be developed, Case said. A follow-up report is due to the CIAC by December of 2014.
See Case's presentation to the board in the attached pdf.