Taking a look at eligibility

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Should the McCook School System leave the eligibility system the way it is now, or does McCook need stricter standards to allow participation in athletics and other activities?

The question became one of community interest Monday night when the school's activities committee proposed changes which would require students to have passing grades each week.

Currently, the McCook Schools follow the grade standards of the Nebraska School Activities Association. Those guidelines require that students receive 20 hours of academic credit the preceding semester in order to be eligible for participation in NSAA-sanctioned activities.

But members of the McCook activities committee believe stricter standards are needed. What they are suggesting is that teachers turn in a list each week of students with failing grades. If a student is failing in two or more classes, he or she, and his or her parents, would be notified that the student faces the possibility of being ruled ineligible for athletics and other activities.

The students would have one week to raise their grades to passing. If they fail to do so, they would be declared ineligible for Monday through Saturday of the following week.

Whether you are a student, a parent, a coach, a teacher or community member, now's the time to weigh in on the issue. After a wide-ranging discussion, board members agreed Monday night to table the issue until the July meeting of the McCook Board of Education. That gives the public time to share viewpoints with board members before a final decision is made.

For the purpose of perspective, it is important to note that eligibility is not a concern for the vast majority of the McCook students who participate in activities. According to a study done by former activities director, Rick Haney, the Grade Point Average of students participating in activities was a very respectable 90.46, and they pass 97 percent of their classes.

Haney also noted that the Grade Point Average of students participating in activities was a very respectable 90.46.

So what's best? Can we uplift students' performance by monitoring weekly classroom performance? Or is the current system, based on grades from the previous semester, adequate for eligibility needs?

It will be interesting to see what the school board decides, and of even greater interest what effect their decision will have on the academic performance of students in activities.

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