Beginning fall of 2012, Baker, First Creek, Giaudrone, Gray, Jason Lee, Mason, Meeker, Stewart and Truman middle schools will all change to a varsity, junior varsity and C-team model like the high schools for all athletic programs.
In addition to shifting to this varsity model, the district will add tackle football and girls’ cross country as two additional options at the middle school level through alternative funding that does not take away from academic programs.
“Special thanks go to our Chief Financial Officer Ron Hack and Director of Student Life Jennifer Kubista for making this possible for our kids and our community,” said Superintendent Carla Santorno. “At a time when many school districts are forced to cut athletic programs, these individuals have listened to what the community wants and sought out ways to make it possible despite budgetary concerns.”
“Our middle schools have run an intramural sports program which has fewer sports and games, and received funding from basic education, levies and the Associated Student Body (ASB),” Hack said. “In 2009, the board approved Policy No. 4140 and Regulation No. 4140R, Community Partnerships and Commercial Activities, that allowed the district to pursue ways to fund other sports for students.”
As a result of that policy, the district now has a digital scoreboard at multiple sites throughout the district that generates marketing and advertising revenue. The district also negotiated contracts that provided vendors with exclusive rights to Tacoma Public Schools (beverages, apparel, photography, etc.) in exchange for commissions.
“We expanded our use of procurement cards that provides the district with rebates,” Hack said. “We have dedicated these revenues, along with other potential revenue sources associated with the new board policy, to reinstating and expanding middle school athletics.”
“The current A, B and C team model has served us well,” Kubista said, “However, the varsity model will give Tacoma students the opportunity to play at a more competitive level with practices five days a week. This move will provide more comprehensive opportunities and a greater number of quality programs for students and student-athletes within Tacoma. This is an epic day for our middle school students, the schools and the Tacoma School District.”
One of the major goals of Tacoma Public Schools is to increase academic excellence. These changes and additions to the middle school athletic programs will help continue to increase academics for all of Tacoma’s middle school students.
“We want all of our students involved in sports, clubs, music, drama, art, technology, etc.,” Kubista said. “And, we want them to find those things they are passionate about academically through activities offered at the schools.”
The goals for this new athletic programs approach are to:
· Provide low-cost, accessible programs for students to complement their academics
· Build their character
· Encourage good sportsmanship
· Promote fitness and healthy lifestyles
· Offer another effective way to foster students’ connections with school
“The expansion of our athletic offerings is huge, and was made possible by amazing work done by students, staff, principals and community members over several years,” Kubista said. “Adding two athletic programs will involve students who may not currently be involved. It will give schools another avenue for a sense of pride and identity. It will provide more coaching positions and opportunities for positive adults to influence the lives of our student-athletes and other students in the building who may interact with coaches. Lastly, the expansion will better prepare our student-athletes for high school level competition.”
Bryant Montessori, which has the 10th middle school, does not have athletic programs. Students who attend Bryant will participate at their neighborhood middle schools if they choose to participate in athletics.
Session One sports, which include boys basketball, girls cross country and girls soccer, will begin on Monday, Sept. 10. For students to participate, they must have a current physical (within the last 13 months), and a completed middle school activities contract, a concussion information form and an emergency medical card.
You can find this information on the Tacoma Public Schools Web site under Departments & Programs, Athletics and Activities. All necessary forms are available online and at your local middle school. If you have questions about middle school athletics, please contact your middle school directly.