Co-Curricular Activities

  • Guiding Principles

    The West Linn-Wilsonville School District envisions a learning community which:

    1. Demonstrates personal and academic excellence;
    2. Provides a personalized education to improve student performance;
    3. Establishes community partnerships and expands the classroom beyond the school;
    4. Creates a circle of support for each student;
    5. Educates the whole person--intellectually, emotionally, physically, and ethically;
    6. Integrates technology in daily learning.

    Co-Curricular Activities are an integral part of establishing a culture of excellence, personalization and support for the whole child that extends beyond the classroom. Participation in Co-Curricular Activities also has the benefit of improving student outcomes – including attendance, participation in class, sense of self-efficacy, and academic performance.

    In addition, Co-Curricular Activities are an essential part of our Student Services focus area of Creating Inclusive Cultures. Through participation in athletics, performing arts, leadership, enrichment programs, clubs and service activities, students served by Special Education can interact with peers in ways that benefit all participants and strengthen the overall culture of the school. Participation in Co-Curricular Activities can also support the development of Student Voice – another Student Services focus area.

    The Student Services department has a goal that 100% of students served by Special Education will participate in a Co-Curricular Activity in their school. This goal can be achieved through the collaborative support of case managers, general education teachers, principals, counselors, instructional assistants, student services staff, coaches, volunteers, and other adults working together.

    In addition to being a school district goal, student participation in Co-Curricular activities is a right protected by IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
    Procedural Guidance

    Definition of Co-Curricular Activities – There is a range of activities that can be considered co-curricular activities. There is no single definition and no exhaustive list of activities. In the resources section below, there is a list of activities that schools have offered. However, the list of offerings will change based on student interest/need and staff expertise.

    In general, a Co-Curricular Activity is a school-based activity that is optional, and outside of the regular academic coursework. Also, a Co-Curricular Activity would be an ongoing activity with regular opportunities for participation over the course of weeks or months, not a one-time event.

    Major categories of Co-Curricular Activities:

    • Athletics
    • Performing Arts
    • Academic Activities (Science Fair, Lego Robotics, Oregon Battle of the Books, etc.)
    • Leadership
    • Enrichment Programs
    • Clubs
    • Service Activities

    Co-Curricular Activities can take place before or after school as well as during the school day (lunchtime clubs, for example).

    Some examples for clarification:

    • PE is not a Co-Curricular Activity, but school sports are (varsity/JV sports, Unified Sports, formal and informal school-sponsored club sports, etc.)
    • Band or Drama class on its own is not a Co-Curricular Activity, but if students participate in performances or festivals beyond the regular class hours, then it would be considered co-curricular.
    • Leadership class on its own is not a Co-Curricular Activity, but if students in Leadership classes generally participate in leadership activities outside of the regular class hours (before, after or during the school day), then it would be considered co-curricular.
    • Classes that are part of the regular program for all students (e.g. Choir, Art, PE & other “specials” at primary school) would not be considered co-curricular.
    • If every student in the class is required to create a science fair project as part of the regular curriculum, it would not be a Co-Curricular Activity.


    Documenting Student Participation in Co-Curricular Activities

    Case managers document student participation in Co-Curricular Activities in ePEP. One of the questions in the Special Factors page asks about activities. This is not part of the state-approved IEP form, so it does not print on the IEP. However, if case managers are projecting the IEP draft on a screen during the IEP meeting, all participants in the meeting can be part of the conversation.

    The case manager should have a conversation about Co-Curricular Activities with the student before the IEP meeting (just like the case manager will talk with the student about their present levels, goals and accommodations in preparation for the meeting).

    The most effective way to find out what activities students are participating in is to ask them directly. Some students may not know what “co-curricular” means, so it may be helpful to have a list of examples to prompt them (see resources section below). For younger students, it may also be helpful to contact parents or the child’s general ed teacher to find out more about participation.

    Asking students about co-curricular participation can help students develop more voice in their educational planning. In addition, it can give the case manager the opportunity to recommend activities or probe more to find out if there have been obstacles to participation in the past.

    For some students, the obstacles to participation may be as simple as not knowing where to pick up the forms or not remembering to turn in permission slips.

    When documenting participation, we should only focus on school-related activities. We know that a student may not be participating in school activities because they do gymnastics, horse riding, girl scouts and church youth group outside of school. These outside activities may be valuable for developing social-emotional skills and building a student’s sense of self-efficacy, but because they are not directly connected to the school, we do not count them in our data about school-based Co-Curricular Activities.


    Supports for Participation by Students with Disabilities

    We are committed to providing supports to ensure that all students have access to participation in Co-Curricular Activities. The services summary page on the IEP is a good place to start for information about possible supports. However, consider the specific needs of the student and the demands of the task. For example, the accommodations and supports that a student needs to engage in an after-school Anime Club may be much different from the supports they need to access a writing activity in class.

    Some principles to consider when designing supports for Co-Curricular Activities:

    • Least Restrictive Environment – We want students to participate with their non-disabled peers in the most inclusive way possible.
    • Natural Supports – Are there supports in place for all students that could be adjusted to allow access for students with disabilities?
    • Developing Independence – Can we establish supports with the intention of phasing them out once students become familiar with the routines and structures of the activity? For example, rather than hiring an extra coach for the entire season to support a student with a wheelchair on the cross country team, we could provide IA support for the first week or two of practice to help the student & coaches become familiar with the routines and to ensure that they can participate safely.
    • Building Capacity – How can we help coaches, general ed teachers, principals, and volunteers develop the knowledge and skills to be able to support access for all students to participate in co-curricular activities?


    Additional Supplies/Resources – If (after considering the principles listed above) there is a need for additional resources to allow access for all (special transportation, purchasing special materials, etc.), follow this procedure:
    • If the materials/resources would be useful for most students participating in the activity (not just students with disabilities), talk to the coach, advisor, or building principal about resources.
    • If the materials/resources would be used specifically by students with disabilities to access an activity, then talk to Josh Flosi.

    The bottom line is that resources/materials should not be a barrier to access for any student to participate in Co-Curricular Activities.



    List of Co-Curricular Activities - This is not an exhaustive list - These activities vary from year to year and school to school based on student interest and staff expertise.

    Articles supporting the importance of co-curricular activities:
    Benefits of Co-Curricular Engagement


    Co-Curricular Activities FAQs

    If a student is served by Special Education, can they be cut from a team (athletics or activities)?
    Yes. If students with and without disabilities are competing for spots on a team, the decision process cannot be based on the student's disability. That is, a student should not make the team or be cut from the team simply based on the fact that they have a disability. The same criteria should apply for all students who are trying out for a team regardless of disability.
    If a student needs additional adult support to participate in a co-curricular activity, does the school need to provide it?
    Yes. However, principles of Least Restrictive Environment still apply. Whenever possible, we want students to participate in co-curricular activities in the same way as their non-disabled peers. Additional adult support may create a barrier between the student and their peers. See the "supports" section above for more details.
    Board Policy IGBAE, IGBAJ