Keeping students on track

Written by Observer editorial August 09, 2013 10:37 am
A new policy in the Cove School District could be a real win for both students and educators.

The Cove School Board decided Tuesday to raise standards for its student-athletes and impose stricter eligibility rules for playing and even practicing.

The basic policy of prohibiting failing students from playing in games is a solid one, and one found throughout the nation. It’s a policy that encourages students to bring grades up to be involved in something they enjoy as well as something family, friends and community members love as well. It’s a policy that reinforces the notion that we as a society have decided to send our children to school for one primary goal: education.

But the Cove School Board took that policy one step further Tuesday night. The policy they have adopted not only puts some needed pressure on the student-athletes but also involves teachers and parents. 

Each Wednesday, teachers will report all students who did not turn in or complete assignments. Those students will be put on academic probation if they are athletes or if they are in other extracurricular activities. If the students are still behind in a second consecutive week, they will not be able to play in games or other extracurricular competition. If a student is still not caught up by the third week, the student will not be able to practice with their team in addition to not being able to play.

This in itself is fairly comprehensive. The policy involves regular student-teacher contact and gives a student time to catch up before more privileges are taken away.

Additionally, the policy states that students failing two or more classes halfway into a 9-week quarter will be put on academic probation if they are involved in extracurriculars. If a student is still failing at the end of the quarter, a student study team, made of teachers, administrators and parents, will be formed to help.

Support is important in helping students succeed. We applaud the Cove School Board for reaching out to bring various support roles to its students, whether it is the teacher, principal, counselor, parent or some other mentor-figure.

It can be easy for students to be overwhelmed with schoolwork on top of everything else they have going on their lives. The Cove School District policy, though, is one that attempts to tackle issues quickly and regularly. There is little room in the policy for students to slip through the cracks and fall.

It imposes penalties, like not being able to play or practice, only after the student has been placed on probation. Practice privileges are only threatened if schoolwork is neglected for a third week, and study teams are only formed if multiple classes are being failed halfway through the quarter.

Like any new policy, one can never know how it will work until it is tested. As the school year starts up, it will be interesting to see how the policy plays out. If it works as intended, other school districts may consider following suit.