Philosophy of Interscholastic Competition

In the Oak Park School District (OPSD), interscholastic athletic participation exists as part of our Whole Child Commitment to unlock students’ full potential. Participation in athletics is a privilege reserved for eligible students that meet and exceed the academic and behavioral expectations of the district.  We are committed to growth and our aim is to continually expand opportunities for participation as they align with the skills, interests, resources, and opportunities within the community.

Participation in school sports can be one of the most significant and meaningful learning experiences for a student.  Interscholastic athletics is viewed as an extension of the academic curriculum and is an expanded opportunity for students to learn important skills, develop positive character traits such as confidence, self-discipline, respect, and commitment.  Interscholastic athletics also allows for students to be exposed to diverse experiences and individuals and promotes a Transformative Culture where all students, families, community members, and staff feel safe, respected, and connected.

Junior Varsity: Junior varsity teams generally consist of 9th and 10th grade students, but may also include 11th grade students.  The concepts introduced at the middle school level are reinforced here, but the purpose of the junior varsity team is primarily to serve as a reserve, developmental squad for the varsity team.  Students are introduced to the earned playing time concept that not only takes into account adherence to team rules and demands, but athletic and sport-specific talent as well.

Varsity: The focus of varsity competition is to train the district’s best representation of student-athletes in their chosen sport(s).  The goal of the varsity team is to win contests while adhering to the game rules and promoting positive school and community culture.  There will be a major focus on mastering fundamentals, cultivating leadership, and advancement to college.  Teams will be administered fairly; however, there is no guarantee of playing time at the Varsity level.