Incoming ninth graders will automatically be eligible to participate in sports and extracurricular activities in the first quarter of high school if the Board of Education adopts proposed changes to its eligibility policy on Tuesday, April 17.
The Board is expected to vote to relax extracurricular and athletics eligibility requirements while keeping its policy as one of the most stringent in Maryland.
During a work session March 28, Board members reached consensus on several proposed changes, including allowing ninth graders to arrive at high school eligible to participate in sports and activities. After the first quarter, ninth graders would be required to meet all participation standards. Under current policy, eighth graders who do not meet the 2.5 grade-point average with no failing grade or attendance requirements in the final quarter of middle school are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities or sports the first quarter of high school.
The Board also discussed policy changes that would allow a limited number of parent notes as acceptable documentation for lawful absences. The proposal also refines definitions for extracurricular activities and lawful and unlawful absences.
A majority of Board members indicated they were not in favor of changing the eligibility requirement that high school students maintain a 2.25 grade-point average with no failing grades. An eligibility committee recommended allowing students to participate if they had one F grade as long as they maintained a 2.25 GPA minimum. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has the highest GPA requirement for eligibility in the state.
The Board is also considering changes to the accepted documentation for absences, which now requires a medical note for students absent five or more days in a marking period. Board members suggested modifying the policy to allow students absent fewer than five days to remain eligible without providing documentation, and require students absent five or more days to provide documentation of a lawful absence. Documentation would be due within five days of the absence and allow for five parent notes per quarter. A suspension counts against eligibility.
The Board plans to support the committee’s definition of extracurricular as an activity pursued outside of a student’s class enrollment. Examples include athletics, clubs and student government associations. The proposed policy clarifies that activities that support specific content curriculum, such as fine and performing arts, JROTC drill competitions and SkillsUSA, would not fall under the eligibility policy. Students must be enrolled in the course to be exempt.
Lawful absences, as defined by state law, include: illness of a student documented by a parent or medical note; court summons; death of a family member; other emergency as approved by the principal; hazardous weather conditions; work approved or sponsored by the school; observance of a religious holiday; state of emergency; and lack of authorized transportation.
The revised eligibility policy is an action item on the Board’s April 17 meeting agenda. Meetings are at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m., student and staff recognition starts at 4:30 p.m. and public forum is at 6 p.m. A complete agenda is available at https://bit.ly/2Hv9v5u.
The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and Verizon FiOS Channel 12 and rebroadcast throughout the week. Board meetings are streamed live on the school system website at www.ccboe.com.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.