Fewer boys than girls take part in SAD 44 school activities
“What can we do to encourage the young men in our district to get more involved?”
That’s the question SAD 44 Affirmative Action Officer Jolene Littlehale posed to herself and to the School Board at a recent meeting.
As AA officer, part of her responsibility is to try to find and remove barriers that may prevent one gender from participating in particular school-related activities.
Littlehale compiled figures forthe number of boys and girls, from elementary through high school, taking part last year in activities ranging from sports to music to student council.
The overall totals: 658 girls, 444 boys.
An area of particular concern, said Littlehale, is student council. District-wide, 60 girls take part compared to 26 boys.
“What are we doing here that we’re not developing some good strong male leadership coming out of SAD 44?” wondered Littlehale.
An exception was the Andover Elementary School, where 10 boys are involved compared to seven girls.
At Telstar High School, girls outnumber boys 3 to 1, and at the middle school, more than 4 to 1.
Littlehale said that at the middle school level, students “should still be trying out a lot of things. We shouldn’t lock them in so soon. That is one of the barriers that I think is going to show up.”
Among other activities showing gender discrepancies district-wide were chorus (77 girls, 21 boys); and band (55 girls, 33 boys).
At THS the small golf team was heavily weighted toward boys (7 boys 1 girl).
Showing balanced participation across the district were soccer and basketball,
At the Telstar complex alpine skiing and track were balanced. Other sports teams traditionally popular with one gender or the other showed similar trends at Telstar, including football, field hockey, baseball and softball.
Littlehale said she would be talking with school principals and others about the numbers and they would look for ways to eliminate gender barriers.