The season is over. On the surface, it seems things went well. However, how can activity directors evaluate the past year with all activities – athletics, drama, music, robotics and others?
Many times, activities directors look for a fair way to evaluate the season – a method that is fair for a coach of a sports team and an advisor of a drama program.
One possibility is use of a rubric similar to the one shown on the opposite page. This rubric is used by the head coach or advisor, as this person is in charge of an entire program. This is given to each coach and advisor before the season starts so that they are aware of the expectations. It also allows for the activities director to have similar expectations of all programs – athletics and other activity programs. Using this rubric helps the activities director with training for the coaches and advisors.
When filling out the rubric, comments can be made in different areas. A coach or advisor can be “basic” on one part and “proficient” in another area. Using this rubric assists with discussion time with the coach. There is no score assigned, rather talking points to know what needs work.
The first common goal is administrative. A head coach has a lot to do, and staying organized is essential. This part of the rubric hits on some key points. It discusses communication with parents, players, teachers and other coaches. Then it addresses whether the coach or advisor is using academic resources to help athletes and if they are using alumni and members of the league.
The second common goal is based on the community. It deals with community involvement. Were there any community-service projects done by the team or group? Has the coach or advisor arranged for a way to give back to the community? Another aspect discusses the involvement with the youth. Does the coach or advisor run a camp or a clinic for the youth in the community? A head coach or advisor needs to be aware of what is coming in future years. The building of a program begins with the head coach or advisor.
The community aspect is important. Is the coach or advisor teaching the bigger picture of character with the students? Life lessons are learned in high school activity programs. It needs to be more than the perfect performance or the winning shot – there is value in the journey of the season.
The third area that is discussed is about practices and meetings. Coaches and advisors need to have (written or digital) plans that are shared with the assistants. One caution with digital plans: It may appear to the students that the coach or advisor is on the phone. Also, the assistants need to be utilized more appropriately during a meeting or practice time. Technology can be a great asset to a program with use of video to show the students their performance.
The other part of this area that is important – and is only in the distinguished area – is character development. Is the coach or advisor purposefully infusing character and leadership into the program? This area is very evident, and either the coach/advisor implements it or does not implement it.
The final area discussed in this rubric is the competition or performance or meeting. What is the image that the group portrays? Are they respectful to officials, opponents, teammates and fans? The coach or advisor should be displaying model actions and responses during the competition or performance or meeting. Overall, when the group walks into the theater or gym, what do others think – “Oh no” or “That is such a great group of kids”?
The column on the far left, Unsatisfactory, needs to be addressed. If you have a coach or advisor in this column, you need to take some action. You would not want this person in charge of students. The activities director needs to be in tune to the rubric and the performance throughout the season.
The rubric is not a one-stop shop. It does allow for common goals and expectations for the activities within a school. There are other expectations that are included in the coaches/advisors handbook, such as keeping records, contacting media, collecting all uniforms and equipment. The goal of this rubric is to review how the coach or advisor supports the program. At no time does this rubric address wins or losses; it only deals with student improvement.
In our school, we tweak and re-word this rubric so that it is always a live document. We are striving for improvement. We want our programs to be preparing students for life, and this is one way to guide the coach or advisor in the process.
Lisa Myran-Schutte, CAA, is activities director of the Houston Public Schools in Houston, Minnesota, and she is a member of the High School Today Publications Committee.