Numbers for extracurricular activities are on the rise in the St. Vrain School District in Colorado.
One man who has helped that cause is Chase McBride, the athletic director at Niwot. Over the past five years he has been with the school, the Cougars have seen a spike in numbers in extracurricular activities.
"Five years ago, my principal and I were hired (at Niwot)," McBride said. "We started at 62 percent involvement in extracurricular activities. We're now up to 90 percent and there is a link to student achievement with that."
McBride's resume and familiarity with the St. Vrain School District made him the top candidate to take over the Director of Athletics, Activities and Fine Arts position in the St. Vrain School District starting in the 2019-20 school year. He will take over for Rob Berry, who will retire from the position after this school year.
For McBride, the timing was right to take the next step in his career.
"It's all about progressing to the next challenge," McBride, a Broomfield High grad and CU football alum, said. "I was able to build some relationships and accomplish quite a few things. I've learned from the St. Vrain AD's, and for me, it's time to take on the next challenge. I want to take that success at Niwot to the district level."
Before coming to Niwot, McBride taught in the Fort Lupton schools for four years and also served as an AD/AP at Berthoud High School.
McBride is not just going into his new position based on the nearly 30 percent increase in student involvement with extracurricular activities at Niwot. On the sports side alone, he has seen his school succeed at the top level. Just this past fall, the gymnastics and girls cross country teams won state titles while the volleyball team finished as a state runner-up.
"The formula is hard work and hiring the right coaches that kids will flock to," McBride said. "You have to have student-centered people to increase involvement. I want that to carry to the next position."
Now, McBride is looking to keep the trend of students participating in the sports and arts while also finding some success along the way across the entire district.
"The first thing I want to do is establish myself," McBride said. "(Berry) did it 15-plus years and I want to continue what he's done well and take the next step. We as a group of athletic directors will lay out goals and visions of those next steps. I'm a firm believer that there is no status quo. You either get better or worse, so we'll lay those out and set new marks to reach as a district."
The schools and people involved with each gives McBride a sense of optimism that his vision and progression will continue when he steps in next year.
"The group within St. Vrain are hard working and well thought of in the state," McBride said. "There is expertise everywhere. I trust their work ethic and what they are about. They are kids-first type of people. Being able to tap into their strengths to do better at my job, that's very fortunate for me to be in."