When: School District of Lancaster board meeting, Oct. 3.

What happened: The district wants to attract more students into its athletic programs by offering additional sports opportunities. Instead of just fielding competitive athletic teams, School District of Lancaster should consider providing or participating in fitness instruction, community sports, intramural activities, expanded gym classes and school club-based athletics, Matt Przywara, assistant superintendent, and Jon Mitchell, athletic director, told board members.

Why it matters: Concentrating on competition and winning fails to address what pupils need, Przywara said. Athletics, he explained, also should focus on students.

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Quotable: “This is not just about wins and losses for us,” Przywara said. “It’s about giving opportunities to our students.”

By the numbers: Currently, 22% of students in grades 7-12 participate in 19 athletic teams, Mitchell said. Specifically, 25% of male students and 19% of female students in those grades play sports. Those numbers mirror national statistics, Mitchell said, which could lead to health problems later in life.

Possible solution: The district has started using Project Play, a program developed by the Aspen Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that researches and offers support for problems facing society.

Quotable: “This is something we clearly want to take a look at as we mention inclusion and equity,” Mitchell said.

Process: The district first must figure out what sports interest students, Mitchell said. An athletics planning team, consisting of coaches, physical education teachers, principals, community members, students and others will analyze survey results from students, parents and guardians. Information from focus groups will help map out a plan to increase sports offerings and participation, he said.

Timeline: Students will specify sports interests through surveys in October, while parents and guardians will respond in November. The planning team should present a program to the board in March.

Foundation: The Lancaster Education Foundation donated $512,970 in programs and services during the 2022-23 school year, Angela Trout, the nonprofit’s executive director, told board members. The foundation only supports the School District of Lancaster

Specifics: Lancaster Education Foundation raised $48,570 to adopt 196 classrooms, awarded $75,000 in student scholarships and awards and gave $31,500 in teacher grants.

More: The foundation also distributed more than 8,000 new books to students in second grade, raised $60,000 for string instruments and contributed $72,500 to the district’s dual enrollment program.

Next: The school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10. The public can view meetings and register to comment on the district website.

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