Your Schools: New programs, teachers and fall sports start the school year in styleYou know the school year is nearly upon us when high school athletic programs begin their practices for fall competition. Activities Director Rollie Hall reports that practices for football, boys soccer, girls and boys cross country, girls tennis, girls swimming, and girls golf are in full swing, and that by the time this column is printed, golf, tennis, and soccer will have had their season’s first competition with other schools.
By: Tom Westerhaus, School Superintendent, River Falls Journal
You know the school year is nearly upon us when high school athletic programs begin their practices for fall competition. Activities Director Rollie Hall reports that practices for football, boys soccer, girls and boys cross country, girls tennis, girls swimming, and girls golf are in full swing, and that by the time this column is printed, golf, tennis, and soccer will have had their season’s first competition with other schools. I guess it’s on to 2012-13 in earnest!
At the end of last year, Mr. Hall gave me some very interesting statistics about participation in sports for the River Falls Class of 2012. Of last year’s seniors academically in the top half of their class, 63% of them lettered in at least one sport and 31% lettered in at least two sports. Conversely, only 26% of the students in the bottom half of their class lettered in one sport, while only 10% of the lower half of the class lettered in two or more sports.
While there are many variables involved with student grades and class rank, it seems quite apparent that students who are in sports are also succeeding in the classroom. Likewise, though we don’t have similar statistics to prove it, I would guess that the same could be said of students involved in any of the multiple co-curricular activities and clubs provided at River Falls High School: The more involved you are as a student, the better you will probably do academically.
Listening to recent inductees at the Wildcat Hall of Fame Banquet earlier this month, it was clear to me how important alumnae of the School District of River Falls felt having a strong extra-curricular program was to their success as a student in the district and for their personal and professional lives in the larger world beyond our schools. Every one of the 2012 Hall of Famers encouraged our district to continue its tradition of quality coaches, healthy competition, and multiple opportunities for students.
Perhaps watching the Summer ‘12 Olympics may have sparked a student’s interest in participating in athletics or activities. If your child has not been involved in activities outside the classroom, we would highly encourage you to encourage them to consider joining a sport or co-curricular activity this year to help round out their education (and resume for college and work!) It’s never too late to try something new!
Speaking of new, there will be several things new in our district this year, including:
--River Falls 4 Children (free 4-year-old preschool programs in six community sites)
--22 new teachers to replace retired or departing employees
--Lead 21 (new reading program for our elementary schools)
--World Language Expansion (offered for all elementary students in primary grades)
--Later school start times for all schools
--Major building renovations for Rocky Branch and secure entries for RFHS and Rocky Branch (other district schools will be heavily renovated in Summer 2013)
--FORWARD: River Falls Education Foundation grants (bringing new technology into our classrooms)
--Expanded emphasis on instructional technology (to assist classroom teachers in using new approaches in the classroom and eventually arming students with individual devices for use at school and home)
--Extending STEP (Senior Tax Exchange Program) into all elementaries and the middle school
--Expanded offerings through Community Education for adult education opportunities.
Welcome to the 2012-13 School Year! I am confident that it will be our best ever!
“The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but to enjoy them; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love knowledge; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after justice.” (John Ruskin)