By Denise Dick
City school officials believe an intramural sports program for elementary schools would create a sense of family for the district.
“The general feeling is that there is a need to foster a sense of community in the elementary buildings that brings families together in support of their school,” says a report presented to the Academic Distress Commission.
One of the strategies in the commission’s academic-recovery plan is to increase student choice, allowing parents and students to select their programs or schools.
The district formed a committee to devise choice options and the idea for extracurricular sports came out of one of those meetings.
“One of the community members brought up the topic about community awareness; how when you go to school, there’s a community feeling,” said Doug Hiscox, deputy superintendent for academic affairs. “The feedback they get is there’s just not that kind of a feeling. We came up with the thought of trying to create that like there had been in past decades — something that gives the schools some identity, brings a community feeling and creates loyalty to the school.”
Meetings on the idea are ongoing, and details haven’t been worked out, but sports being considered include baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Because of the students’ ages, football isn’t being considered.
“It would be overseen by the school district but facilitated by parents,” Hiscox said.
Each elementary school would have its own team able to practice at the schools.
“It would probably end up like the city series or the city league,” the deputy superintendent said. “We want to build loyalty around the teams. In the past, we had a Chaney team and Rayen, and we had some identity with the schools then.”
The program would get under way next school year.
“It’s part of our effort to help parents understand that good things are happening in Youngstown, and we recognize the need to have parents and the community involved and parents and the community identify with the schools they’re in,” Hiscox said.