The administration at Evanston Township High School is asking the District 202 Board to change the rules a tad to make it easier for students to participate in extracurricular activities.
Currently, the policy at the school requires a student to be passing four or more classes and maintain a 2.0, or “C” average, from the previous semester to tryout, audition, or sign up to participate in an activity.
They requested the board at its Monday night meeting to require a student to be passing a minimum of five classes each week and from the previous semester, but to drop the 2.0 grade point average requirement.
Instead, they said, the policy should stipulate that students who did not earn a 2.0 GPA from the previous semester must meet weekly requirements in order to maintain their eligibility.
Marcus Campbell, assistant superintendent and principal, and Pete Bavis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said “we believe that by removing the minimum GPA requirement, more students will have access to activities and can benefit from the level and variety of supports provided within these programs.”
Their proposal, they contended, “would require struggling students to get academic support throughout the entire semester in which they are participating in their extracurricular activity.”
Br drawing a “red line” at a 2.0 GPA, Bavis said, it does a disservice to the student who is just below that line. The proposed change, he said, increases the level of support for students to enable them to climb back above the 2.0 GPA standard.
Some board members expressed skepticism at the beginning of the discussion that by altering the 2.0 requirement, they were lowering expectations for students, but Campbell and Bavis insisted that the opposite was true.
They contended that the change would enable more students to meet the 2.0 benchmark by exposing them to more of the academic supports that would be available to them and that their performance would be monitored on a weekly basis.
ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, an outspoken supporter of the change, challenged the board to “take a different approach to how we do business.”
No action was taken by the board at this meeting on making the change, as it was listed on the agenda as a “First Reading” of a policy change. Action on the recommendation would be taken at a future meeting of the board.