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Norfolk High School now has a new activity for students to participate in: unified track and field.

The district board of education approved the addition of the sport at the senior high at its regular monthly meeting on Monday night. In doing so, the district will be ahead of the curve in a growing sport, said Ben Ries, NHS activities director.

Unified track and field consists of about an equal number of athletes with intellectual and/or physical disabilities and partners without disabilities, according to the interscholastic unified track and field coaches guide. The season will run in conjunction with the boys and girls track seasons.

The school underwent a pilot program of unified track and field last season, he said, in which 11 students participated. NHS also hosted three unified track meets last year, which were used for qualified meets for a state track unified exhibition. The 4x100 boys relay team was champion, and the long jump had two champions.

Ries said they wanted to continue based on the success of the trial.

"Moving forward, more schools will take on unified track because it’s an awesome activity and it creates awesome opportunities for kids," he said at the board meeting.

The sport itself is relatively new in Nebraska, as the NSAA board sanctioned it in August 2019, according to the Lincoln Journal Star. There are two unified sports in the state; the other is bowling. For more information, visit nsaahome.org/unified-sports.

Currently, unified track and field athletes can participate in the 100-meter dash, the 4x100 relay and the long jump, Ries said. Now that the sport is an official activity at NHS, he anticipates it will involve travel to other schools for meets.

This is the second unified sport at NHS. It also has a bowling team, which Ries said is growing in participation numbers every year.


Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education

The Norfolk Public Schools Board of Education met for its monthly meeting Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Norfolk Public Schools Central Administration Office.

The meeting lasted 55 minutes, and it was preceded by a 55-minute study session.

Board members present: Bruce Mitchell, Tammy Day, Sandy Wolfe and Patti Gubbels.

Others in attendance: Two from the media, 15 from the public and 10 for a Focus on the Students presentation.

ITEMS OF INTEREST

- The study session focused on a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (target-based learning) presentation by Beth Nelson and Mary Luhr, as well as an update on the Norfolk Public Schools Foundation by Sarah Dittmer.

- The Focus on the Students presentation featured a Norfolk High School theater presentation.

ACTION ITEMS

- Approved the addition of unified track as an activity at Norfolk Senior High School.

- Approved the first reading of board policies: 3130 (Purchasing Policies), 3131 (Procurement Plan-School Food Authorities), 3131.1 (Procurement Plan-Code of Conduct), 3140 (Contracting for Services), 3150 (Paying for Goods and Services), 3160 (Report of Treasurer), 3170 (Periodic Audit), 3180 (System of Accounts), 3190 (Inventory of Equipment), 3200 (Monies in School Buildings), 3210 (Bonds), 3220 (ESU's-Designated Representative).

- Approved the second and final reading of board policies 3010-3120 related to board operations.

- Approved the one-year HVAC maintenance agreement with Rasmussen.

- Approved sale of lunch tables from Westside Elementary School.

- Gave permission to let bids for HVAC projects at Jefferson Elementary, junior high and senior high.

FUTURE MEETINGS: The second monthly meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24 at noon. The next regular business meeting will be Monday, Nov. 11, at 6:30 p.m. with a study session at 5:30.

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