Studies have actually shown that physical
activity not only makes a healthy body but it can also make a healthy mind. So
the question is why are we cutting programs that keep our students active? If
what we want are better test scores then why not increase funding or at least
the amount of time for physical activity? Edweek.org discusses this and more in the article “How Schools Fight Youth Obesity During Tough Budget Times
Test
scores are not the only positive increases that can come from an increase in
activity. The benefits of being on a sports team have been preached for years.
The many benefits of students joining sports teams are hi-lighted in the EdWeek blog post “EdWeek Bloggers Tackle Youth Obesity, Value of Sports.”

Even
College Board has given an opinion on activities for students. A page on
the College Board website gives the pros and cons of teenagers carrying part
time jobs while in school as well as suggestions for student advisement for
school staff.

Although
several years old, ASCD’s article “Part-Time Work and Student Achievement” by
John H. Holloway can still be looked at as a good indicator of how part-time
positions can affect students. However, Holloway definitely focused more on the
negatives compared to the positives. He stated such problems as decreased
GPA’s, increased school absences, and an increase in drug and alcohol abuse in
students with part-time jobs compared with those students who do not hold part
time jobs.

Over two
years ago Doug Lederman wrote an article for ASCD on college students who have jobs.
Two years later this article seems more important than ever. With the
danger of loans being reduced or taken away and colleges increasing tuition
costs every year, students need to be employed not just for extra pocket-money
but in order to pay their way through school. Research results were similar to
those done on high school students with part-time jobs. More hours equal lower
grades. Since not working is not an option for these students many of them may
find it difficult to balance their schedules.

Some students may also find themselves paying
to take part in extra-curricular activities that were once free. Budget cuts
have really impacted the amount of money schools can invest in sports and
school clubs. Alvina Lopez reports on the MSTA Blog that these activities are needed in schools because
studies have shown participation in extra-curriculars can actually help improve
student performance. They can also help foster a connection between the
students and faculty who become involved with them.

Many students may be seeking out extra-curricular activities
or sports because of the mentorship some of these activities offer. Coaches and
advisors often make great mentors for students. School Book recently posted an article in the New York Times on a mentor program
sponsored in the Bronx that brings together public and private schools.

Why might students need mentorship or other programs
similar? Well stress can play a major role in a student’s life. There are so
many stressors in a child’s life from homework to home problems to college
applications.  The New York Times recently posted an article on how one school
helps students deal with the stresses of life.

The Huffington Post recently had an article discussing
the different actions to take for applying to colleges (Early Action and Early
Decision). The article went on to discuss the reasons behind applying early as
well as the pros and cons.

One of the most stressful times for a student and their
family can be college decision time. While some students may be debating
whether to apply early action or early decision some are still deciding on
where they even want to attend college.
Getting ready for college life can be very stressful. Nancy Berk reports
about these stressful times in the
Huffington Post
article College
Anxiety: Modern Families Caught in the Middle
. ”

While high school juniors and seniors are making decisions
on what colleges to attend, college students are making decisions on what
classes to attend or in some cases not attend.
It is often hard for professors to determine why a student is absent
from their class. While some students skip on a regular basis there are still
those out there who dread missing a class and hyperventilate when they do.  Read more on this subject in “The Good Skip.”

So what do all of these articles and posts have in common?
They all discuss student life outside of the classroom. There is so much more
going on in a student’s life then what they are learning inside your classroom.
Some of them may have part-time jobs to
worry about. Others may need to be on a sports team or in a club in order to
round out their life. These activities can often be beneficial to students who
are facing the major stresses of adolescence or the beginning of adulthood. In
other words, a student’s life does not stop outside the classroom; which is why
it is important to educate the whole child. The brain is not the only body part
that needs nourishment.

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