Feature Article - June 2009
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A Look at Trends in Schools and School Districts


The programs to be found at schools and school district facilities are relatively predictable, though there have been some changes this year. Youth sports teams are again the top program included in these facilities, though they saw a jump. Last year, just over half of school respondents indicated they include youth sports teams, while this year, more than three-quarters (76.4 percent) said they offer them. Also seeing a big jump this year were fitness programs, which went from 35.8 percent last year to 55.6 percent this year. Swimming also saw a jump, from 30.1 percent last year to 38.2 percent this year.

On the other hand, daycare and preschool programs dropped out of the top 10 currently included programs. While 50.9 percent of school respondents last year indicated they offer such programs, this year, only 18.8 percent did so. Also dropping from last year's top 10 list were special needs programs, offered by 24.9 percent of last year's respondents, and 20.8 percent this year.

The top program school respondents said they are planning to add in the next three years was fitness programs. Other top programs planned include:

  1. Fitness programs
  2. Youth sports teams
  3. Education
  4. Sports tournaments or races
  5. Mind-body/balance
  6. Adult sports teams
  7. Sport training, such as tennis lessons
  8. Swimming
  9. Individual sports

The prevalence of fitness programs reflects the schools respondents' greater concern with fitness than the general survey population. This was one of the only groups for whom youth fitness and wellness, as well as general fitness and wellness, were listed as a top concern. More than a third of school respondents said youth fitness and wellness were a top current concern.