Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


School reform initiatives have often included the controversial practice of school consolidation in an effort to limit the cost and improve the quality of the educational process. While there are both benefits and liabilities in consolidating schools, there are few studies that have determined the impact of consolidation on certain student behaviors such as participation in extracurricular activities (Blake, 2003; Clinchy, 1998; Eisner, 1995; Fanning, 1995; Hawkes, 1992; Hughes, 2003; Jonjak, 2003; Nelson, 1985; Reynolds, 1999; Seal & Harmon, 1995; Self, 2001a, 2001b). Findings are mixed in that some studies have indicated that consolidated schools offer a greater number and wider range of extracurricular activities, while other studies have indicated lower levels of participation among students in larger, consolidated schools (Blake, 2003; Coladarci & Cobb, 1996; Fanning, 1995). Regardless, participation in extracurricular activities has been linked to higher academic achievement among high school students (Cooper, Valentine, Nye, & Lindsay, 1999; Cosden, Morrison, Gutierrez, & Brown, 2004; Howley & Huang, 1991; Mahoney, Cairns, & Farmer, 2003; Nettles, Mucherah, & Jones, 2000).