South Orangetown Central School District

Dr. Karen Scarth

Please join us in congratulating Cottage Lane Elementary School Principal Karen Scarth on the completion of her Doctorate in Education for Educational Leadership at Manhattanville College!

For her dissertation, Scarth interviewed elementary school principals in the Lower Hudson Valley about the benefits of and barriers to student participation in extracurricular activities–a topic for which little research has been done at the elementary level.

“The inspiration to study this topic was the dearth of information about elementary extracurricular participation. Many studies have demonstrated that there are well-established benefits to extracurricular participation at the secondary level and it makes sense that an early start makes later participation more likely,” Scarth said. “All the participating administrators reported that their schools valued and provided extracurriculars for students, but there is an acknowledged lack of data about whether students from all subgroups are participating, and what keeps some kids from participating.”

Scarth credits her research with informing the development of programming at CLE. “At Cottage Lane, we think about barriers and we look at data about participation rates among subgroups to engage all students. Bringing third grade instrumental music instruction into the school day is an example of how we are increasing access for all students. If we can expand access to extracurricular activities in grades three, four and five, our students will be more accustomed to being involved and more likely to remain connected socially and academically through high school.”