From the Director


The Value of Sports and Performance Programs: Understanding the Benefits and Prioritizing Programs Through a Pandemics

From the Director


Welcome to the October 2020 issue of the NSBA Center for Safe School’s Quarterly Newsletter, a benefit of your subscription.


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our communities into unprecedented times of physical isolation. With this isolation, many individuals are experiencing heightened fear, anxiety, and stress, resulting in increased issues of mental health in both new and existing forms. These current challenges have underscored the need for our schools to foster a strong sense of community and connectedness. Current events also have amplified the need for our students and school communities to have strong social and emotional skills. Resiliency, determination, understanding and managing emotions, and many skills are becoming even more essential in the development of our youth and the support of our staffs and families. As we look to address these challenges, it is important to highlight one of our most traditional means of creating these bonds and building these skills: athletic and performance programs.

The benefits of these programs are rooted in their ability to help individuals learn teamwork and develop skills essential for successful student development. They also bring together communities, fostering a sense of connection and unity. The unfortunate reality of our current climate, however, is that these programs are facing multiple threats brought on by the pandemic. Social distancing requirements are changing how we look at the safety of these programs, including our ability to bring spectators together, in this environment. Additionally, as the need for these programs is being emphasized, so too are the financial burdens our school districts are facing. Unfortunately, performance programs are often among the first areas cut when budgets are impacted.

This issue will identify the key benefits of sports and performance programs, especially how they can support students and school communities during these challenging times. It also will underscore the importance of understanding and attaining equity in this landscape.

We hope the articles and resources in this issue will illustrate the importance of these programs as you and your district face challenging decisions in the year ahead. Please reach out with any questions or comments using the online discussion group to engage other subscribers from around the country or via


Thank you for your continued interest and commitment to fostering safe schools for all our students and district employees.

Adam Lustig
Director, NSBA Center for Safe Schools