Physical education and health education in public schools cover a wide range of topics that are foundational to athletics.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines physical education in schools as instruction that develops knowledge, motor skills, and behaviors for physical activity and fitness. Physical education can provide students the confidence and ability to be physically active throughout their lives. The CDC further explains the benefits to students to include:
- Increased physical activity levels
- Improved standardized tasks and grades
- The ability to stay on-task in the classroom
Health education begins in kindergarten and carries into high school. The curriculum provides an introduction to the human body, illnesses, nutrition, and lifestyles that can either damage or promote health overall.
Athletics in Public Schools
Student-athletes tend to have a higher degree of physical fitness. The National Federation of State High School Associations states that athletes are less likely to be sedentary and overweight. Athletic programs emphasize health and well – being, and their students are less likely to participate in dangerous or risky behavior or to experiment with drugs.
Data from the Examination of National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) showed that participation in school athletics correlated with positive educational achievements, behaviors, and aspirations by the end of Grade 12 as well as two years later. The positive outcomes included:
- Better school grades
- Higher quality coursework selection
- Better homework grades
- Positive educational and occupational aspirations
- Higher self-esteem
- Quality university applications
- Higher numbers of college enrollment
Results were consistent across socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity, ability levels, and educational aspirations. Participation in interscholastic sport “was significantly more beneficial than participation in intramural sports, particularly for more narrowly defined academic outcomes.” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2003).
Athletic Scholarships for College
A Campus Explorer article states that college applicants have an advantage in the admission process if they participated in athletics in high school. Colleges consider a student’s overall transcript, which includes test scores, grades, and extracurricular activities. These records give them an idea of a student’s ability to multitask and his or her general well-roundedness.
Preparation for athletic scholarships for college begins early on in a student’s educational path. High school student-athletes often search online for how to get recruited for college sports. One college recruiting website, Next College Student Athlete, provides facts and suggestions on how to get recruited, as well as the various high school division levels.
A full-ride athletic scholarship is not possible for all student-athletes and high school students must consider an academic scholarship as a supplemental form of aid. Minimum academic standards must be meet by student-athletes: ACT test scores of 25+, SAT of 1200, and a 3.5 GPA.
Scholarship opportunities are available from corporations, non-profits, and individual donors. Scholarships.com provides an ongoing list to help students navigate financial aid options.
Athletic Programs in Public Schools
Explore what your local public school district provides by visiting their websites, and signing up for newsletters. Tour campuses and attend high school sports games. Popular public school athletic programs include:
- Men’s Basketball
- Women’s Basketball
- Beach Volleyball
- Field Hockey
- Men’s Soccer
- Women’s Soccer
- Track and Field
- Water Polo
- Cross Country
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