Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities before school, in-school and after school. There is a "no cut" policy for extra-curricular sports and most other activities to encourage students to develop lifelong interests.
The gym, shop, and library are open before school and during morning activity period. The gym and outside court are often open for activities during the last fifteen minutes of lunch. During the thirty-minute activity period at the end of the day, students may participate in special activities with other members of their team. Activities vary from team to team. The gym, cafeteria, multipurpose areas, computer lab and outdoor areas are available to each team on a rotating basis. Most teams offer quiet or talk study where students can get additional help with their assignments. Band, chorus and orchestra are also scheduled during this time.
At Fort Couch the Athletic Program's major emphasis is to provide broad-based intramural and extramural activities which are an outgrowth of the physical education program. Intramural activities provide exploratory experiences for all students including flag football, soccer, cross country, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, track and softball. Any student can participate in the after-school extramural activities.
The purpose of the program is to provide wholesome physical activity with emphasis on the physical and emotional welfare of the participants. All practices, scrimmages and contests are considered teaching situations. Students have an opportunity to develop skills, sportsmanship, and self-discipline. There is a "no-cut" policy. All students who wish to participate will be assigned to a team. While an attempt is made to give all team members playing time, it is not always possible to give all players equal playing time. The coaches are responsible for using their own discretion.
Students who wish to participate in these activities must be in good academic standing and must adhere to team rules. Medical examinations either through one's family physician or through the school doctor are required immediately prior to each season. Exam forms are mailed to the home along with notification of available sports during a particular season.
Fall sports include girls volleyball, girls and boys swimming, boys and girls cross country and boys football. Winter sports include boys wrestling and girls and boys basketball. Spring sports include girls and boys track & field, boys volleyball and girls fast pitch softball. Student involvement typically averages close to 92 percent each year. In the year 2000-2001, 615 students, including 302 females and 313 males, participated in athletics.
Orchestra, Band and Chorus
The school also offers Orchestra, Band, and Chorus with over half of the students participating in at least one of these activities. Although many of our students begin studying their instruments in 3rd and 4th Level, no previous experience is necessary. Small group lessons are provided for students playing a string or band instrument. These weekly 30-minute lessons are offered during the academic day. All regular Orchestra, Band and Jazz Band practices are scheduled during activity time.
- The String Orchestra practices four times a week during the morning and afternoon activity period.
- The 7th and 8th Level Band practices separately one day a week during the same activity times.
- The two bands combine for two additional practices each week on a fourth day. The Jazz Band also meets twice a week.
- In addition, members of the Orchestra may try out for String Ensembles, while Band members have the option of playing in the Jazz Band and a Symphony Orchestra including strings, winds and percussion.
The Fort Couch Middle School Orchestra combines with the High School Orchestra to perform at a Spring Concert. Fort Couch also offers an extensive Choral Program that provides for students of all abilities and interest levels.
The 7th Level Chorus meets on Tuesday and Thursday during the morning homeroom period while the 8th Level Chorus meets on Monday and Wednesday. Students have the opportunity to study and perform a variety of choral music and participate in smaller vocal groups such as the Shoop Girls, Triple Trio, Mixed Group and the Dukes. The smaller vocal groups meet during the afternoon activity period. Choreography, solo singing, and more extensive part-singing are encouraged in the afternoon groups.
The entire choral music department performs a winter and spring concert at Fort Couch while the smaller groups also perform at local malls and for local hospitals and organizations.
Student Council and Other Activities
Other student activities include Kids About Reaching Each Other (KARE), Tech Crew, Library Helpers, Student Newspaper, etc. Two additional student projects are the annual "Reach Out" program and Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children collaboration.
A significant student group is the Fort Couch Student Council. Student Council is designed to include all students in the school and to give everyone an opportunity to participate in the governance of our school. Any student can be elected to Student Council or serve on a Student Council committee. Students join Student Council through a process of petitions, speeches, and elections. If a student is not elected, she or he may still join a Student Council special committee.
Students who choose not to be on Student Council or a committee may voice their suggestions and ideas through their representatives at the monthly homeroom meeting. Consequently, throughout the school year and with the various activities, Student Council involves all students. This helps to meet the school goal of encouraging all students to participate in extra-curricular activities.