If you’re a parent or student in the Oregon School District, keep an eye on the mailbox.
A survey intended to make area youth sports and athletics more equitable and accessible is on the way.
The survey, issued by the district Youth Sports and Athletics Task Force, is following through on the first of the group’s three recommendations approved last fall by the school board. The goal is to “better understand participation and non-participation in sports, access, equity and opportunities (or lack thereof), to benchmark participation numbers and determine goals for the future,” according to the task force.
The survey, estimated to take 5-10 minutes, was sent Feb. 6 to all OSD families, as well as students in grades 4-12, district director of communications Erika Mundinger told the Observer in an email.
The survey will be open through 5 p.m. Feb. 20 to give people “plenty of time to respond,” she said. After that, the task force will go into an “analysis phase” to evaluate the data and then review and determine priorities and actions for implementation.
Task force co-chair and district athletic director Mike Carr said the data gained from the survey will “help us understand activities our kids are doing, their experiences with those activities, and any barriers that prohibit participation.”
“Knowing the data will help us partner with youth sports organizations to share best practices and provide the best experiences we can for our families,” he wrote in an email to the Observer.
Making sports and athletics in the district more equitable and accessible is a major push in the district, an effort spearheaded by the task force. It was created in early 2017 to “examine the purposes, shared values and expectations for youth sports organizations and athletic programs in the district, desired outcomes, cooperative opportunities and equity for all students.
The task force spent more than a year reviewing national research, studied participation data and hosted a summit with more than 90 community members. The goal, said co-chair Krista Flanagan, was to “ensure youth sports and athletic programs are built upon a foundation of learning and our sports culture is a strong and positive one.”
Last fall, the Oregon school board adopted the group’s recommendations for this school year: a district survey of students and parents about participation; working with youth sports groups to improve coach training, communication and age-appropriate development and creating an advisory council that helps parents become better educated and ensure sports experiences are centered in learning.