The study shows small differences in boys’ and girls’ sport in CT Town

WEST HARTFORD — A report released by the school district found little difference between the city’s high school sports for boys and girls.

Through surveys and open forums with high school coaches and student athletes, Assistant Superintendent for Administration Anne McKernan and Athletic Director Jason Siegal identified some problem areas: training facilities, equipment, uniforms and transportation.

McKernan and Siegal also reviewed expense records and toured the athletic facilities at Hall High School and Conard High School.

“We took a good look at what’s out there,” Siegal said. “Certain things that came out of our conversations with our student athletes that we focused on. It was great to go out together and really see our facilities and see what our student athletes and coaches have access to on a daily basis.”

“It was great to do it after listening to the students and coaches so we had certain things in mind,” McKernan said.

The study was conducted after the city celebrated the 50th anniversary of creating its own varsity women’s sport, months before Title IX was passed into federal law. The city celebrated the milestone in April.

“It was a great night and we had a lot of great memories,” Anne McKernan, the city’s assistant superintendent for administration, said at Tuesday night’s education committee meeting. “Through a few different discussions around town, we realized it might be time to take a close look at our programs to make sure that although we’ve come this far, there are hidden differences in our programs for girls and boys there.”

The biggest differences are baseball and softball, the two said.

“We definitely saw that the only area we need to address is baseball and softball, which I think we knew from previous comments,” McKernan said. “Going to the fields, walking across the fields and looking at the facilities, that’s a difference.”

The report states that some of these differences between the two are due to support from outside youth baseball groups that also use the high school’s fields.

“Some of the differences are very much due to the fact that the boys’ youth baseball program also uses Conard’s and Hall’s fields.” McKernan said. “Through this process, they donate things like scales. This is one of the reasons. Not the only reason.”

For example, baseball teams had access to more storage facilities, batting cages, and protective screens used on the field during batting practice. In Conard, these groups have helped power enclosed shelters, while Hall has bullpens, McKernan said.

“We want parents and people to give to our clubs, but that can throw things off balance a little bit,” McKernan said. “We want to applaud their support, but we want to make sure that whatever support they get from outside groups, they get consistent programming and support from the school system so they can go out and have a great season.” what is offered to them.”

There was also an issue with the softball teams lacking scoreboards. A scoreboard will soon be installed on Hall High School’s softball field, the two said. Siegal said he also wants to take a deeper look at support from outside groups and how other districts are dealing with similar situations.

“We need to keep thinking about how to bring things back to fair standards,” Siegal said. “One of the things we want to use [Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief] Means to look for upgrade options for baseball and softball facilities to ensure there is more equity between those specific facilities.

The report also says aid funds could be used to improve shelters for the softball teams and that Siegal will begin discussing ways softball and baseball teams can share batting cages and other amenities.

Another smaller area of ​​inequality found was the cost of swimsuits for girls’ and boys’ swimming teams. Girls, they said, typically pay $65 to $70 for swimsuits, while boys pay $35 to $40. It has been proposed that pay-to-play fees be adjusted to reflect this.

Other suggestions made during the open forums concerned school websites and how they would list boys’ sports ahead of girls’ sports due to literacy. McKernan and Siegal suggested maybe alphabetizing by sport, putting boys and girls at the bottom of the list.

“It’s a small thing, but it could mean something to someone,” McKernan said.

Some students also suggested that boys get more fan support than girls. McKernan said this isn’t a funding issue, but that they would like to find ways to give the girls more support at games.

McKernan and Siegal both said they were glad they didn’t find too many differences over the course of their study.

“One of our really important takeaways is that our program has received really, really positive reviews,” said McKernan. “We were really excited to create and review the report. While we found some areas for improvement, I was pleased to hear from so many different people. There was a great collaboration and that’s the biggest advantage I have because I know we can address everything else.”

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