The following information is a compilation of standards, policies, rules, regulations, and guidelines that refer to middle school athletics and activities. All VPA policies, rules, regulations, and guidelines in effect remain in force unless specifically addressed in this section.
The Vermont Principals’ Association defines middle school as students in grades 5 – 8. The VPA believes that an understanding of the unique physical, psychological, emotional, and educational needs of all middle school children should drive all aspects of middle school education.
The VPA believes that middle school sports should be kept in perspective. To that end, we concur with the National Middle School Association research summary on sports in middle school, which states: “many positive benefits for young adolescents may result from participation in sports which can enhance their self esteem and increase their interest in sports. However, when young adolescents’ needs and interests become secondary to pressures and unreasonable expectations from coaches, parents and even themselves, sports often have the opposite effect. Young adolescent’s psychological well being should be a priority in developing middle school sports programs.”
The VPA believes that every interested student be afforded the opportunity to participate in athletics and activities at the middle school level. Member institutions are encouraged to find creative ways and means for every middle school student to experience the personal growth and development that comes through active participation.
The VPA has developed the following standards in order that our middle school athletic/activity programs may consistently apply the best of what we know to this centrally important part of the larger middle grade program.
Section 1. Standards
A. Student activities, intramural, and interscholastic sports are an integral part of the Middle School educational program.
B. The emphasis of a Middle School activities program is on teaching, participation, and progression without the competitive pressures, which are part of the Senior High School athletic program. No single phase of the educational program shall be promoted at the expense of other equally important programs.
C. Participants, coaches, parents, officials, and fans shall model and uphold the highest ideals of sportsmanship.
D. The supervision of activities should be in the hands of trained school personnel. The selection of this leadership should be based on their knowledge of teaching activities to this age group, understanding of the modified sports/activities program, training, and safety procedures.
E. The programs should operate with minimal loss of school time, limited publicity, competent officiating, and limited awards.
F. All participants are required to have health insurance.
G. All participants should receive appropriate medical screening in accordance with school district policies.
H. All participants should be selected, equipped, instructed, and supervised in accordance with school district policies.