Home Page Logo
District Highlights School Newsletter School Board Board Agenda Board Policies Board Minutes District Contacts Employment Financial Report School Improvement Required Notifications Annual Progress
Ackley Elementary Wellsburg Center High School
How To Enroll Pay Schools JMC Parent School Fees Facility Use Form
Counselor's Corner Student Links
Activities Calendar District Calendar Lunch Menu
FFA HS Band AGWSR Nation HS 1:1 Elementary iPads First Tech Challenge Speech HS Spanish
Cougar Communities

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 2.51.40 PM.png
The Mission of AGWSR Community Schools is to provide EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION so that each student will discover LIFE-LONG LEARNING and become a self-respecting, contributing adult member of society.



Each Sunday evening Iowa educators have an opportunity to participate in a live discussion about an educational topic on Twitter called #IAEdChat. I usually check in a few times to see what the topic of the evening is but don't consider myself an avid participant. I'm more of a casual observer from the corner. A few weeks ago was no different, and honestly I was more interested in seeing the Vikings beat the Packers than participate. However the topic was the value of extra-curricular programs so I thought I might share a few thoughts here today.


Usually when we talk about extra-curricular activities we immediately think about our athletic programs. There is no doubt they get the most attention and tend to draw the largest groups of students. But to draw a line directly (and only) to athletic programs would mean missing a whole host of other programming options we have for our young people.


Extra curricular programs are those not connected to a content area or have a connection to classroom activities. Participation in these activities is dependent on academic eligibility and being a student in good standing. Co-curricular programs on the other hand are directly tied to a classroom activity and participation in these activities is usually tied in some way to an academic grade. Because of the fact participation is grade dependent, academic eligibility is generally not a factor. The commonality between both is that they typically occur outside the confines of the regular school day.


The idea of programming extra curricular activities for students outside the school day has always played an important role in the American school system. The fact is, this is a uniquely American educational experience. European and Asian countries don't typically have extra curricular activities in schools. If students want to learn to play a musical instrument or play a sport, those events are reserved for time outside of school. It is interesting and somewhat ironic then, as American schools try to conform to other schools around the world (i.e. Finland or China), some of these same systems are trying to emulate what we are doing in our schools.


But, why? Although the entertainment value at a concert on Thursday night or football game on Friday night would make a great argument, this is more of a secondary benefit. The same can be said about community pride: great secondary benefits, but not the primary benefits for school sponsored extra-curricular activities.


We do know that there is a great deal that we can teach our students through our extra-curricular programs that cannot be replicated in a classroom. We can run simulations or experiments in a classroom, but the observations gained here are far inferior to the wisdom and understanding that can be gained from actually doing it. Sure, one can talk about problem solving and teamwork. But it is not the same as actually being on the team!


Another reason for extra-curricular activities in school is about forming a connection and bond between the student and school. There is a ton of research that suggest students who feel a connection to their school do better academically, have a larger social network, and are less likely to drop out.  The more we can encourage youngsters to participate in activities, the more likely they are to have school success. They learn about being on a team, a member of an organization, or an integral part of the band. They begin to develop pride in themselves, the team, and the school. A connection is developed and a bond is formed.


As our students are all different, and have different interests, so must our extra and co-curricular program. After all, we can only have one quarterback on the football team, and we can only have one lead in the musical. For these reasons we try to diversify our programming and provide enough unique experiences, or menu of options to meet the needs and interests of our entire student body. So yes, we have a football team, a band, and basketball. But we also have a student council, a show choir, a speech team, and academic decathalon! This is part of the American educational experience and what forms a comprehensive and rich school experience. It is also part of what makes it 'Great to be a AGWSR Cougar!'




Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 2.38.51 PM.jpg
AGWSR Elementary

918 4th Avenue

Ackley, IA 50601

(641) 847-2611

AGWSR Wellsburg Center

609 South Monroe

Wellsburg, IA 50602

(641) 869-5121

AGWSR High School

918 4th Avenue

Ackley, IA 50601

(641) 847-2633