New officiating course planned at Jefferson High School {child_byline}By Pam Chickering Wilson pwilson@dailyunion.com{/child_byline} JEFFERSON — With a shortage of officials to oversee youth, middle and high school sports and a population of teens interested in working in this area, Jefferson High School is considering an officiating course as a new physical education offering. Greg Fetherston and Aaron Erickson, physical education teachers, gave a presentation on the proposal to the School District of Jefferson Board of Education Monday. The school board is expected to vote on the potential course at its next meeting. The two physical education teachers recently attended a conference at which they learned about similar courses being taught in other school districts, such as Mauston and Stoughton. “There is a growing need for officials,” Fetherston said. He explained that through offering this class, it’s possible to help the school and community, and also provide great on-the-job experience for people interested in going into the field. “I have seen high school students officiating at the middle-school level in Waterloo,” Erickson said. “Those opportunities are there ... At Deerfield, they serve as game workers at the middle-school level, working the clocks ...” While serving as officials, high-schoolers also receive pay. Fetherston noted that training officials in the area are willing to assist with the course, and all of the materials are provided through the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. “This opens doors as students enter college and have a head start on students who haven’t had this opportunity,” Fetherston said. The class would be an elective in the physical education department. On top of the rules for officiating different sports, the class would touch on concussions and illnesses in sports so officials could better recognize those if they came up in a game situation. Erickson stated that the district already has a wealth of potential resources right on site, with many coaches, at least one trainer and the athletic director in the high school and easily accessible as guest speakers. When the phy-ed teachers brought up the idea of the new class to current students, Fetherston said, they heard from several seniors saying, “Aw, I wish we had that this year.” “In addition, this would really give student athletes an appreciation of what goes into officiating,” said Steve Dinkel, high school principal and a former coach. Board member Dick Lovett, a former high school principal, agreed that the pool of available officials is shrinking and this could help address that need. Lovett did have a few questions, however. He wanted to make sure offering this additional course would not strain the Physical Education Department, which already teaches required courses for all students plus various electives, including the new lifeguarding class started a few years ago. The P.E. teachers said that their department doesn’t have as many electives as other departments and they felt they could handle it. This might pull some students from an existing course, as in “Fitness for Life,” and could result in fewer sections of that class being offered. Districvt Superintendent Mark Rollefson said that it’s difficult to gauge the impact until course signup, when students indicate which classes they want to take. Board member Terri Wenkman said she hopes the class touches on how to deal with out-of-control coaches, parents and fans, which is one of the most challenging parts of the officiating role. Expanding on how the program would work, Erickson said that newly trained high school-age officials generally would be assigned an adult mentor to work with them during a transitional period, and then they’d gradually take on responsibility to work on their own. School board President Donna Bente said that the community already has seen the impact the Jefferson High School lifeguarding students have had on the local community — with at least one life saved thanks to graduates’ actions. Likewise, she sees this as another opportunity to expose students to different career pathways while addressing a need in the local community. She noted that the class pretty much would have no budget impact, as all of the materials are provided by the WIAA and other schools. It’s just a matter of arranging the instructors’ time. The course tentatively has been included in the draft of the Jefferson High School 2020-21 course catalog to start next fall. The course catalog, more properly titled the Jefferson High School Academic and Career Planning Guide, also was considered at the Monday school board meeting in its first reading. It is slated for final approval at the next school board meeting.

JEFFERSON — With a shortage of officials to oversee youth, middle and high school sports and a population of teens interested in working in this area, Jefferson High School is considering an officiating course as a new physical education offering.

Greg Fetherston and Aaron Erickson, physical education teachers, gave a presentation on the proposal to the School District of Jefferson Board of Education Monday. The school board is expected to vote on the potential course at its next meeting.

The two physical education teachers recently attended a conference at which they learned about similar courses being taught in other school districts, such as Mauston and Stoughton.

“There is a growing need for officials,” Fetherston said.

He explained that through offering this class, it’s possible to help the school and community, and also provide great on-the-job experience for people interested in going into the field.

“I have seen high school students officiating at the middle-school level in Waterloo,” Erickson said. “Those opportunities are there ... At Deerfield, they serve as game workers at the middle-school level, working the clocks ...”

While serving as officials, high-schoolers also receive pay.

Fetherston noted that training officials in the area are willing to assist with the course, and all of the materials are provided through the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“This opens doors as students enter college and have a head start on students who haven’t had this opportunity,” Fetherston said.

The class would be an elective in the physical education department.

On top of the rules for officiating different sports, the class would touch on concussions and illnesses in sports so officials could better recognize those if they came up in a game situation.

Erickson stated that the district already has a wealth of potential resources right on site, with many coaches, at least one trainer and the athletic director in the high school and easily accessible as guest speakers.

When the phy-ed teachers brought up the idea of the new class to current students, Fetherston said, they heard from several seniors saying, “Aw, I wish we had that this year.”

“In addition, this would really give student athletes an appreciation of what goes into officiating,” said Steve Dinkel, high school principal and a former coach.

Board member Dick Lovett, a former high school principal, agreed that the pool of available officials is shrinking and this could help address that need.

Lovett did have a few questions, however. He wanted to make sure offering this additional course would not strain the Physical Education Department, which already teaches required courses for all students plus various electives, including the new lifeguarding class started a few years ago.

The P.E. teachers said that their department doesn’t have as many electives as other departments and they felt they could handle it. This might pull some students from an existing course, as in “Fitness for Life,” and could result in fewer sections of that class being offered.

District Superintendent Mark Rollefson said that it’s difficult to gauge the impact until course signup, when students indicate which classes they want to take.

Board member Terri Wenkman said she hopes the class touches on how to deal with out-of-control coaches, parents and fans, which is one of the most challenging parts of the officiating role.

Expanding on how the program would work, Erickson said that newly trained high school-age officials generally would be assigned an adult mentor to work with them during a transitional period, and then they’d gradually take on responsibility to work on their own.

School board President Donna Bente said that the community already has seen the impact the Jefferson High School lifeguarding students have had on the local community — with at least one life saved thanks to graduates’ actions.

Likewise, she sees this as another opportunity to expose students to different career pathways while addressing a need in the local community.

She noted that the class pretty much would have no budget impact, as all of the materials are provided by the WIAA and other schools.

It’s just a matter of arranging the instructors’ time.

The course tentatively has been included in the draft of the Jefferson High School 2020-21 course catalog to start next fall.

The course catalog, more properly titled the Jefferson High School Academic and Career Planning Guide, also was considered at the Monday school board meeting in its first reading. It is slated for final approval at the next school board meeting.

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