The initiative, passed unanimously by the School Board, will offer a variety of sports throughout the 2017-2018 school year.
The Flagler County School Board unanimously motioned to bring a variety of sports to local middle schools at a meeting on July 18.
The initiative, which was initially presented at a July 11 meeting by members of Flagler Schools and the Flagler Sheriff’s Police Athletic League, will offer sports throughout three seasons of the 2017-2018 school year.
Girl’s volleyball, boy’s wrestling and co-ed cross country will be offered during the fall. Boy’s and girl’s basketball will be offered during the winter. And boy’s and girl’s track and field will be offered during the spring. In addition, cheerleading will be available year-round.
Each season will be broken up into eight-week periods. The first week will be designated for sign-ups, followed by five weeks of intraschool practice and play, two weeks of interschool practice and play and a conclusive All-Star game.
Practice will be two days per week with a maximum two-hour duration. On practice days, school activity buses will be available to take participating students to assigned neighborhood bus stops.
For Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly and other supporters, the initiative is mainly about keeping kids out of trouble.
“It’s about keeping kids safe,” Staly said. “It’s about giving kids opportunities to not get in trouble by playing sports after school in the middle schools. And [it’s] an opportunity for our deputies and our community and our volunteers and coaches to mentor our youth and prepare them at the middle school level for what they’re about to face when they get to high school.”
Indian Trails Middle School Assistant Principal Ryan Andrews said safety had to be taken into consideration regarding the size of the teams.
The size of the facilities and the number of interested students will determine the size cap. Andrews said most sports will have a cap of about 48 students.
As for participation costs, PAL Director Kim Hale said the first sport will cost $60, and $50 will be charged for each additional sport. Insurance is paid once out of the first registration.
“There’s going to be such a positive impact on our scholars and our students here,” ITMS Principal Paul Peacock said. “It’s the tip of the iceberg. This is the beginning of a myriad of additional opportunities for our kids to be able to participate in.”