The Raise the Bar school program is designed to dramatically increase the level of physical activity that our students receive through the delivery of quality, comprehensive intramural programs.
It is also very important to understand that intramural programs have applications beyond increasing physical activity levels and the health of our kids. Intramural programs can play a prominent role by getting kids many of them high risk more engaged in the school community. Here is a list of some of these benefits.
At the bottom of this page is a PDF file that provides a sample intramural proposal form for teachers to use when submitting a plan to run intramurals at their school. Combined with the benefits listing here, teachers will have plenty of evidence to support their desire to implement an intramural program at their school.
In general, inter-school teams at both the elementary and secondary school level have top priority in terms of funding, time and resources. It must be understood that the majority of our students are not athletic so the question begs ‘what do we have in place for these students to participate in?’ Extracurricular opportunities should not be limited solely to those students who have the previous experience, skills or financial means to participate. Research indicates that on average, only 2025% of the student population play on a school team. What do we offer the other 75%?
Intramural programs provide a strong link to the health and physical education curriculum in secondary schools. The more often we expose students to the gymnasium, fitness center/weight room the more likely they will feel comfortable enrolling in a health and physical education course. Intramural programs also provide more social interaction between physed staff and students who may not otherwise take a health and physical education course or play on a school team.
Having more students playing sports either in the gym or outside will enhance the health and physical education program. Intramurals provide an opportunity for more students to be active and engaged in the school community.
By their inclusive nature, intramurals provide opportunities for every student to participate and succeed. Students with special needs can find a place to belong while playing intramural or houseleague sports. Many of these students have little to do at lunch or after school - intramural programs provide these students a place where they can belong.
Students that are engaged in school activities are much more likely to succeed in both academically and socially. It is critical to find activities that will engage grade 9 students in their new school. The transition from grade 8 to grade 9 is a difficult one. Inclusive, positive and fun programs like intramurals provide an excellent opportunity for grade 9 students to become immersed in school life.
Programs that help create a positive, inclusive atmosphere are important in creating a school that is safe from violence and bullying. Building healthy relationships is a key component of a school's bullying prevention plan. Intramural programs provide opportunities for all students to enjoy activities that can bring the school together.
Students suffering from a lack of self-esteem and self-worth tend to struggle academically and socially. Activities that do not intimidate and have participation and fun as their goals can only help students build their sense of self-worth. Intramurals give the students a sense of belonging and allow students of all abilities to find a place to play and have fun. Intramural activities do not separate students into cliques or groups. Anyone can play and feel confident in their abilities.
Students working together at the Raise the Bar conference in November 2007.
It is no secret that we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is affecting our children as well as our adult population. The number of young people who are classified as obese or overweight has tripled over the last 10 years. Injecting more opportunities for our students to be active will be a tremendous benefit to the health of our kids today and in generations to come.
When managed properly, intramurals can create a positive, vibrant atmosphere in the gymnasium. By allowing students to come into the gym and watch the activities, you are decreasing the number of students that would normally be in other supervision areas such as the halls, cafeteria, playground, smoking area and parking lot.
SAMPLE INTRAMURAL PROPOSAL FORM
The following is an example of what staff might use when presenting the idea of developing or improving an intramural program at their school.
Program Rationale - Why is it important to have an intramural/houseleague program?
There are many reasons to have an intramural program at your school. Intramural programs provide numerous benefits to the students and school community at large. You could use the benefits listed above and include others that are particular to your school.
Keeping students active and engaged during or after the school day is a benefit that impacts on the entire school.
Implementation - Who will run the intramural program?
In some cases, school administration and federations support the use of intramural supervision as a component of school supervision duties. School boards such as Kawartha Pine and Wellington Catholic recognize this supervision duty. Most school boards do not however.
The program will have to be organized by a staff member or a team of staff members as part of their extra curricular volunteer time. This is the most common model - and it is a successful one.
Funding - Where will the money come from?
There is little funding required to implement and sustain an intramural program. These programs use existing equipment. The administration should be asked to help out financially to help offset the wear and tear on equipment. Asking for this money would be no different than seeking support for more basketballs or football equipment.
Timetable and space- what time of day will intramurals be offered?
Elementary schools can offer intramural programs at lunch or during the nutrition/snack breaks that occur twice daily. These breaks provide an ideal time to gather students into the gym for activities. Most kids are done their lunch in mere minutes - the gymnasium provides a positive, active place to go for the remainder of the nutrition break.
If you have a secondary school with a common lunch, then you can offer intramurals at this time. However, if you are at a school with a double or triple lunch, then you must offer activities after school - one night a week for starters.
What do you want from your administration?
You want SUPPORT - in any shape or form. Providing support for supervision may not happen. But your administration can support you in terms of funding and advocating strongly for the program in the hopes of getting more staff involved in the supervision of the program.
The principal can set the tone of the school. Getting her/him on side would be a big boost to the success of the program.