is considering beefing up its academic requirements for student athletes to be eligible to play sports.
The school board and administration wants to go beyond current state interscholastic sports standards to ensure student athletes aren’t failing, or get them immediate tutoring if they need help.
Assistant Superintendent Scott Seltzer discussed the issue during the board’s May 22 voting meeting and laid out the preliminary ideas they’re considering.
He said the new standards could mean any student with an F in a class during the week would be placed on probation and required to go to tutoring. A second week with a failing grade could mean practices or games are “taken away” and four straight weeks with an F in the class would have “more severe consequences.”
“Our main goal is to have the kids do the best they can in class and help the kids who need it,” Seltzer said.
Current P.I.A.A. standards evaluate grades on a weekly basis and a student must be passing four courses every week to be eligible to play.
Seltzer said the administration and board hope to have the new standards in place before next school year.
Some school directors want tougher standards, and Superintendent Brian White Jr. said this plan could just be a starting point as they ratchet up the policy later. White said this isn’t designed to punish students, but rather target those who are having problems and make sure they’re helped.
“We need to make sure we have all the resources to help the kid,” White said. “It’s one thing to tell the kid he’s ineligible, but another to have the support staff.”
He added they want to have a system that informs coaches if a student athlete is having trouble in class. Some coaches aren’t included in that notification now, he said, because not all of them are teachers in the district.
The district is looking into how it can utilize its staff and current technology to make sure students are being helped when needed. White also noted they have to iron out judging the students because some courses might not have heavily weighted tests or projects each week to raise a letter grade.
“We want our kids to succeed both on and off the field,” White said. “We want to ensure we’re doing the right thing.”