Healthy, active individuals. Sounds like part of a new year’s resolution, doesn’t it?

Bellingham Public School’s strategic plan, The Bellingham Promise, compels us to develop healthy and active individuals, and one way we accomplish this is through athletics. We have school-based teams and groups, as well as club sports and community offerings all around Bellingham and Whatcom County.

But there’s a disheartening trend out there – many kids quit teams or drop out of sports due to pressure, stress or other related factors.  If we want kids to think about sports as play, fun, learning opportunities and a hardy dose of exercise, it’s on us to help them. Check out this TEDx video  and the mantra (from John O’Sullivan) … “I love watching you play.” This video offers a great perspective on why many kids may drop out of sports and how our approach (as parents, coaches and fans) can help change the tide. Less pressure and more positivity may even mean more wins!

On a side note, watch for upcoming updates related to athletics from BPS.  We are in need of a position that would focus on how we better develop and support district-wide athletics and activities to help provide coordination of elementary, middle and high school programs, training and development of coaches and refine our procedures related to our upcoming new turf fields.  I recently met with our high school activity/athletic coordinators, our school board and club sports organizations around Bellingham, and their feedback supported the need for increased coordination.

Happy New Year and remember the suggestion to share with your child, “I Love Watching You Play!”.

Comments (2)

  • Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the need for kids to be physically active in order to focus in the classroom. This need doesn’t end with elementary school. Why do middle schools not have playgrounds? Why do they not have recess? It may sound silly but I’m confident that students would be more focused and motivated if they did something other than sit inside for 7 hours a day.

    • Hi James,
      You raise some important points and questions that we’ve been discussing as a system. Our physical health education program needs reviewing. Students currently take PE in middle school, but their participation in eighth grade depends on electives and waivers. High School PE is based on credit for graduation, but again, some students waive PE if they are involved in sports.

      We encourage students to participate in before- and after- school activities – both organized (enrichment activities like running clubs or wrestling clubs) and ad hoc (like pick-up basketball in the school gym before school). Many of our schools’ schedules allow time for both middle and high school students time to not only eat but to stretch their legs outside and walk during lunchtime. Many of our teachers try to take students outside for class, as well. It’s all a work in progress.

      Speaking of progress, we’re excited to be partnering with the Whatcom Community Foundation to post and hire a wellness coordinator soon. One of the responsibilities of this person will be to bring an integrated approach to health and wellness for our kids from food to recess to physical education and more. We are also working to develop a job description for a coordinator of athletics and activities for the district. One of their key responsibilities will be to ensure that we have accessible (meaning no cost to students who otherwise couldn’t afford it) enrichment activities at all levels.
      Thanks for your comment!