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Cove Principal Mat Miles talks with Cove High School freshmen, from left, Maddison Seggerman, Lauren Woodward and Karley Witten about how they like the school districtís new program where administrators monitor student class work more closely. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Results come quickly with recently implemented student eligibility standards
The numbers speak for themselves and they speak loudly. Only four months have passed since the Cove School Board tightened eligibility standards for student-athletes but it is already clear that they are making an enormous impact.
A review of first quarter grade reports at Cove High School indicates that student academic performance is up by double digits in many cases. The number of students failing at least one class compared to a year ago is down 29 percent, and the total number of failing grades given in tests and for assignments is down 60 percent. The percentage of students passing all of their classes is up 7 percent, while the percentage of freshmen and sophomores passing all of their courses has jumped 24 percent at both grade levels. The percentage of students with a grade point average of at least 2.0 is up 5 percent.
Cove School Board chair Meg Moore is very encouraged by the progress students are making.
“I was expecting to see some improvement but not this much,” Moore said.
Moore also said she did not anticipate the positive response to come so quickly because of the change in mindset the policy is promoting.
“Sometimes you are trying to break old habits,” Moore said.
The new standards the board installed in August impose stricter eligibility rules for participation in games and prevent students from participating in team practices if they do not meet assignment requirements.
The higher standards mean that school district administrators are monitoring the grades of students more closely so they can intervene faster to help students who fall behind.
Cove Superintendent Bruce Neil and principal Mat Miles are doing much of the monitoring and regularly approaching students to remind them they are missing an assignment in a class or need to work a little harder to get their grades up. They are doing this for all students, not just those in athletics.
Many Cove High School students are welcoming the extra attention.
“It is helpful because they are pushing us. They want us to be successful,” said Cove freshman Karley Witten.
Maddie Seggerman, also a freshman, agreed.
“I know that it helps,” Seggerman said.
Freshman Matthew Kromwall said he appreciates the encouraging, conversational approach used by Miles and Neil.
“Instead of telling us (what to do) they are giving us advice,” Kromwall said.
D.J. Skeen, a senior, said that she would have liked the program to have been in place her freshman year.
“It probably would have helped me a lot,” Skeen said.
Miles says with a smile that sometimes students go in the opposite direction when they see him coming but many more students clearly appreciate the concern he and other educators are showing for them.
Neil said students respond well when they understand that he and Miles just want to help them succeed. He said that sometimes when he is talking to a student about a missed assignment or a bad grade others will approach him and ask about how they are doing.
Students are often dashing in to see their teachers upon learning about something like a missed assignment.
“Instead of the teacher charging after the student, the student is tackling the teacher,” Miles said.
Moore noted that lines of communication between students and administrators are being opened up because of the new policy and the way Neil and Miles are using it to connect with students.
“Kids are getting to know our administrators. They realize that they know them and care about them,” Moore said.