Several of the school division's high schools have school club teams operating competitively for the sports of crew and lacrosse. There has been much speculation around the status of club sports for the coming school year. The Beach District principals and the administration have discussed club sports over several months with a focus on consistency of operations from school to school and student safety and sportsmanship. Although there had been discussion to move from the school club team approach to the community club team approach for the 2011-2012 school year, the decision was made to defer changing the status of the school club team due to the unanticipated impact it would have on students' ability to compete at the state level if their club team was a composite team. It is not the school division's intent to minimize any student's opportunity for participation. However, there is a need for consistency in the operation of these club teams.
Beginning in 2012, there were some changes that should not impact the opportunities for students to compete with other students on like teams in other schools in the state or at the national level. The changes focus on operations, student safety, coaches.
First and foremost, the school club teams will remain in the schools and continue to be affiliated with the club team's high school. Examples of the changes include the following:
- Coaches whether head coaches, volunteers or assistants will have to have a background check. Because the school club team coaches are not under the direct supervision of Virginia Beach schools staff, we believe it is necessary to require background checks for volunteers.
- Coaches will have to participate in the Coaches' Education Program, which is online for convenience.
- Club teams will need to be knowledgeable of the Concussion Management Program and agree to abide by that for students' safety.
- School club teams must communicate with a designated school staff member who will serve as the point of contact between the club team sponsor and the high school.
- Scheduling will be completed by adults (e.g., volunteers, coaches, officers) associated with the club team. Administrative support will not be available to the school club teams by student activities coordinators or other school staff.
A committee will be formed to explore how the school division will ensure that school club teams are consistently operated from school to school. Recommendations made by this committee will not take place until the 2012-2013 school year. School staff will seek input from each school club team during the process.
Most importantly, school staff will always keep in sight how any change made, to the existing program, will impact students participating in any of our school club teams.