Middle School sports set to tip off in Battle Ground Public Schools
Dec. 2, 2021
Battle Ground Public Schools is excited to welcome back team sports at its six neighborhood middle schools, starting with boys basketball in January and girls basketball in February. Registration is open for 7th and 8th graders who want to sign up for basketball.
Over the past few years, the district’s surveys have shown that the return of middle school sports was a community priority, along with student safety, facilities maintenance, and support for students’ social and emotional well-being. The district’s Board of Directors responded by committing to fund the launch of middle school sports starting in the 2020-21 school year, but the pandemic forced a delay.
Community support of a replacement, four-year Educational Programs and Operations levy, passed in November, enabled the district to move forward with its plan to provide team sports at middle schools. Sports and extracurricular activities are supported by local levy dollars that pay for equipment and coaches’ wages. Sports and gate fees typically cover officials and transportation to games. The district is able to fund student activities beyond basic education and continues to be fiscally responsible while maintaining the lowest local school tax rate in Clark County.
“Activities and sports are a big part of the experience of education,” said Tom Adams, the district’s Director of Student Services. “Research shows that students who participate in activities and athletics tend to do better in school.”
This year, middle school sports seasons will be approximately five weeks in length, starting with three weeks of non-competitive intramural play. Schools will play against each other in the final two weeks. Students will have the option to compete in just intramural play. Girls basketball season will tip off in February, followed by cross country and soccer seasons in March and April. In future years the district plans to add volleyball and some track and field events, and is exploring adding wrestling, football, golf, and Unified Sports.
David Cresap, the district’s Co-Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, was among the last group of students to play middle school sports in Battle Ground. In 1982, following a double levy failure, team sports were eliminated at the district’s middle schools due to budget cuts.
“I think it helped with the school spirit and was a positive thing,” Cresap said. “It was just a good feeling that complemented the academic side of things.”
The reintroduction of middle school sports is also expected to benefit the district’s two comprehensive high schools. Students will start learning organized sports at an earlier age, and have a chance to meet high school players and coaches before graduating middle school.
“Establishing those relationships from the ground up is super important,” said Manny Melo, athletic director at Prairie. Melo was previously a head coach for boys basketball at Battle Ground High School and a physical education teacher at Tukes Valley Middle School. “This is a huge step in the right direction for sports, for athletics, and the entire population in this area. It’s very, very exciting.”
Basketball and soccer will be available to students in grades 7 and 8. Sixth graders will be able to sign up for cross country when the sport launches in the spring. Visit our Middle School sports page for details and information on registering.