Friday, August 20, 2010

Sto-Rox schools approve grade requirements for athletes

Sto-Rox schools approve grade requirements for athletes If Sto-Rox is going to keep up its tradition of athletic excellence, its athletes are going to have to be at least average students.
The Sto-Rox School Board last night approved a policy stating that students must have at least a C in all their core subjects to take part in sports and other extracurricular activities. Their grades will be reviewed weekly.
'We will not have a football team,' board member Luanne Schipani said, advocating that the board instead use the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League standard of a C average. 'You can have kid getting an A in English and an A in history, but maybe he's in trigonometry and he's struggling.'
Other board members said it was a matter of raising expectations -- and noted that with weekly reviews students who are struggling will get ongoing chances to raise their grades and regain eligibility. Ms. Schipani cast the only dissenting vote.
To be eligible under the previous policy, Sto-Rox students had only to be passing four classes total and three of their four core subjects.

I'm all about getting good grades. Academics are important.

But, it is also important to have opportunities. It is important to get and retain kids in activities that are motivational. Should sports be only for the smart?

Street gangs are happy with this new requirement as a set of kids are going to give up on school now. They will not be eligible. They'll skip. They'll not be engaged. They'll drop out sooner. They'll never go to tutoring. They won't hang with the right kids.

Then there is the matter of grade inflation.

And, another matter -- course selection. Why push yourself into the trig class when there is a chance that you won't cut it there so you won't be able to play basketball. So, the kids might graduate from high school having played sports but with out the challenges to advance to college admissions due to weak transcripts, weak SAT scores or else get into college and need to take remedial classes or else flunk out after one grading period.

What about the kid that is tossed into a family crisis and misses some school? Then he'll be off the team, out of the band, not able to cheer. That kid should be home with the books -- but what if home is the last place for that kid's time.

Then there is the problem of the kid that is a key player on the team -- and most teams have lots of those kids. Then he is wacked out of a game because of one class one week. That screws up the rest of the kids on the team too. The punishment is for all the kids and the entire program and the full school to feel. Hence, the pathway to not caring is accelerated. Not knowing who is in and who is out is not a way to build devotion. Devotion often starts with what is loved and then, later, can be applied to what is necessary. Sports teach transferable skills and valued lessons, as well as general fitness, can be absorbed by those who are getting a "D" or an "F" in one class this week.

Good luck with the program and new policy Sto Rocks. Let us know how it comes along for you.

Here in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, we've got a more aggressive grade and eligibility standard that what the PIAA rules enforce. Our teams are thin on participants, generally. Our drop out rate is too high. Our school spirit and the engagement is what it is.

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