ETHS mulls change in extracurricular rules

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.

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Comments

The key word is 'extra' curricular

The purpose of being in school is to learn. Football, basketball and such should be 'extra' and earned. A 'C' did not mean much 50 years ago and with grade inflation and 'pass anyway' [I don't know if Evanston K-12 does that] a 'C' means even less. Below a 'B' means action needs to be taken by the student [work harder and smarter] and by the parents and school. Sports won't help. As far as music, drama and maybe a few other things, they may help [performing a Shakespeare play may expose them to a new world of things] but the school must recognize that the education [and of course being good citizens, not getting involved in crime/drugs, and being able to get a good/meaningful job] are what they are there for.
Once again ETHS wants to 'dumb down.'

Full participation in student life

In addition to probable improvements in academic performance, eligibility for extracurricular activities enables students to fully participate in student life. The alternative is to exclude them from structured learning environments, which seems likely to marginalize the students most in need of attention.

 

What makes this policy

What makes this policy equitable is that it attempts to account for the wide variance in teachers' grading practices. There's little consistency even within a single department (e.g., science, math) when it comes to how teachers calculate a grade. Perhaps more cogently, in the measurement of anything (grades included), there is "error". Mr. Bavis' point about the challenges of establishing a hard and fast cut-off at 2.0 is a good one. Is there any real, practical, or discernible difference between a student with a 1.99 GPA and a student with a 2.00 GPA? No. 

ETHS and extracurriculars

"...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.

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.”..."

Having to study harder to remain in an extracurricular activity may be the incentive a teenager needs to study harder.  And, if they don't raise their grades, it doesn't sound as if they will be allowed to continue to participate in the extracurricular activity.

"Getting a pass" ?

Beside letting them by with 'a gentleman’s ‘C’, has ETHS every examined the grade inflation for student athletes, how many go on to college---and graduate ? Then there is a practice of ‘passing’ students through the system so they can continue to play sports. Hopefully ETHS does never allows the practice that has been noted, and even stated by athletes, in US K-12 and even colleges, of promoting them through school until [maybe they are no long eligible to play or a teacher catches on], and it is found even college students read at only a junior high level---or less. I’ve never heard such about ETHS, but it is usually only years latter where an investigator turns this up---or an athlete publically admits to such. An extreme, I hope, was Parsons College where a low ‘D’ kept them on the squad.

BWell, the dress code has

BWell, the dress code has been done away with now on with abolishing the GPA requirements. How about eliminating attendance requirements and behavior standards for good measure? Studies have shown that the child will automatically become a success when there are no expectations,consequences, or rules of any kind placed upon them. They only need to be told "you can be anything you want to be"  on a regular basis and be given a participation trophy.

Best o' luck!

The dress code was not "done

The dress code was not "done away with." 

And which studies are you referring to? Please cite. 


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