EHHS Staff and Students Conflicted Over New Proposed Extracurriculars Participation Policy
Heated discussions broke out after the EH Board of Education proposed a potential new policy regarding student participation in extracurriculars depending on their grades. Currently, the policy states that students who fail more than one class during a marking period are ineligible to participate in sports. After reviewing this policy and deeming it “too lenient,” some members of the BOE decided to try to make some changes to it.
With this new proposed policy, students in sports, marching band, and drama club would not be allowed to fail any class and must have a cumulative average of no lower than a 70 between all of their grades for the quarter prior to the activity or season. Any student in danger of not meeting the eligibility requirements will have a 22-day probation period to get their grade(s) up. In the current version of the proposed policy, students can still participate in their extracurricular activities during the probation period. However, if they do not fix their grade by the end of the probation period, they will then be considered ineligible for their sport or activity. Students with "justifying circumstances" would also be appeal to a panel of about three people, but the criteria for a justifying circumstance has not quite been defined yet.
The potential change in this policy has inspired a lot of discussions within the student body and administrators. Some people believe that the change will be helpful for students, while others believe it will add more pressure to their lives. Sophomore Justin Sieng, a member of the marching band and boy's tennis team, said “I feel like this policy would motivate me in the short-term, but would make me extremely burnt out and deter me from actually putting my full effort into my work in the long-term.” Other students believe that the policy is a bit too much. Senior Izabella Olszewski, one of the girl’s tennis team’s captains, said “I think it’s enough to just have the rule that if you’re failing a class, they tell you and you have to get it up or else you don’t play.” She also thinks that, while the policy could be manageable, “it should be up to the student to figure out their own priorities with school work and extracurriculars.”
Other people believe that the change in policy will be very helpful for students. Superintendent Erica Forti believes that the new policy will make students rise to expectations. She states, “If they’re truly informed about it and really understand, I think they’ll rise to the occasion.” She believes that the new policy may make kids use the support available to them. She also believes the new policy will better fit EHHS’s Vision of the Graduate criteria. Principal Vincent Denuzzo agrees with Mrs. Forti, stating that “When we build in systems like that and a set of standards when students reach and meet those standards [...] we’re working towards our vision of the graduate.” Board of Education member Dom Milano also believes that the policy will help students; “The new policy holds [students] accountable. If you want to continue doing an extracurricular activity you have to make sure your grades are good and you hand in your work.” Director of Athletics and Physical Education, Mr. Anthony Verderame, declined to comment.
As of right now, discussions are still going on about the logistics of the policy. There is no set date for a decision about whether or not it will go through. Once the board gets a good enough draft, Mrs. Forti would like to put the policy in place as soon as possible.