SAD 17 board hears athletics builds character development

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  • PARIS — The SAD 17 Board of Directors was told Monday night that the district’s athletic programs are not about winning or losing but about making a difference in participants’ lives.

    Gerry Durgin and Mike Burnham, assistant directors at the Maine Principals’ Association, spoke about education-based athletics and effective evaluation tools.

    “You’re not here creating NBA players. You’re creating good young people,” Durgin told the directors. He and Burnham spoke about the importance of extracurricular activities such as athletics, music and debate teams.

    “It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about putting these kids in a position with these role models that will make a difference for the rest of their lives,” Burnham said.

    Durgin said the Oxford Hills School District has more than 70 programs that students can participate in and commended the district for its programs, including the string quartet that performed prior to their presentation.

    While the district stresses academics first, Durgin said without the extra activities, some students would not achieve as much as they do.

    Durgin and Burnham urged school directors to empower their administrators to continue to stress and support the activities and to not measure their success by wins or losses but rather by students’ attendance records and graduation rates, where they go to receive higher education and other factors.

    “It’s the journey,” Burnham said.

    Directors questioned the pair on issues such as the lack of money to maintain extracurricular programs, the percentage of activities offered and the percentage of the school budget spent on supporting them.

    Burnham and Durgin said it’s not the amount of money spent but the quality of the programming.

    “What you are doing for the students is outstanding,” Burnham said.

    “Teachers are coaches and coaches are teachers,” Athletic Director Jeff Benson said. He spoke about the values students learn from athletic programs such as fair play, health, respect and making good decisions under stressful situations.

    In other business, Superintendent Rick Colpitts said the district’s insurance company has approved the claim for a school bus that was destroyed by fire last month and will pay the district $5,473 in compensation.

    The bus burst into flames Jan. 15 at the bus garage on Brown Street. No one was on or near the bus at the time. The cause was not found, but inspectors believe it was electrical.

    In his written report to directors, Colpitts said the board will be asked to approve the bus lease/purchase agreement and funding for a new Bluebird bus at its March 7 meeting. The insurance compensation will be deducted from the state subsidy that has been approved by the Department of Education for the emergency purchase.

    ldixon@sunmediagroup.net

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  • Leslie H. Dixon

    ATHLETICS AND SCHOOL — Mike Burnham, left, and Gerry Durgin, assistant directors at the Maine Principals’ Association, spoke to Oxford Hills School District directors Monday about education-based athletics and effective evaluation tools.

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