In the past few decades, our schools have emphasized a broad educational mission: to develop the "whole student." In secondary schools, extracurricular involvement is a key tool in this personal development. For the majority of students, involvement in extracurricular activities plays an important role in the school experience. Students become involved in extracurricular activities not only for entertainment, social, and enjoyment purposes, but most important, to gain and improve skills. A wide range of extracurricular activities exist at our schools, meeting a variety of student interests.
The importance of extracurricular activities at school is well established. The primary goals of extracurricular activities focus on the individual student level, the institutional level, and the broader community level. These activities exist to complement the school's academic curriculum and to enhance the student's educational experience. Research clearly shows that almost any type of student involvement in high school and middle school positively affects student learning and development. Extracurricular activities provide a setting to become involved and to interact with other students, thus leading to increased learning and enhanced development. Specifically, a student's peer group is the most important source of influence on a student's academic and personal development. By identifying with a peer group, that group may influence a student's cognitive development as well as his or her behavior.
As the development of the well-rounded individual is the main goal of extracurricular activities at school, the numerous experiences have a positive impact on the students' emotional, intellectual, social, and inter-personal development. By working together with other individuals, students learn to negotiate, communicate, manage conflict, and lead others. Taking part in these out-of-the-classroom activities helps students to understand the importance of critical thinking skills, time management, and academic and intellectual competence. Involvement in activities helps students mature socially by providing a setting for student interaction, relationship formation, and discussion. Working outside of the classroom with diverse groups of individuals allows for students to gain more self-confidence and appreciation for others' differences and similarities.
Students also develop skills specific to their career path and imperative for future job success. Students have opportunities to improve their leadership and interpersonal skills while also increasing their self-confidence. Extracurricular involvement allows students to link academic knowledge with practical experience, which leads to a better understanding of their own abilities, talents, and career goals. Future employers seek individuals with these increased skill levels, making these involved students more attractive in the job market. Specifically, participation in extracurricular activities and leadership roles in these activities are positively linked to attainment of one's first job and potential.
Student involvement in extracurricular activities also positively impacts educational attainment. Research indicates that extracurricular involvement has a positive impact on attaining a college degree and on educational aspirations. Students who are actively engaged are more likely to have higher educational ambitions than uninvolved students.
This is Mike Wilcox, Asst. Supt. of the DCCS reminding you to say thank you to a Veteran, do the little things right, and as always, Go Cougars and Go Chargers!