Valley View School District 365U student-athletes who put in countless hours practicing on the field may now have to pay a bit more attention to their studies if they wish to keep playing.
The Valley View school board Aug. 23 approved a measure that requires students participating in extra-curricular activities to maintain at least a cumulative 2.0 grade point average, a C average. The previous bar had set GPA at 1.5.
The restriction extends to all extracurricular activities that require an activity fee and participates in competition, said Valley View Superintendent Phillip Schoffstall.
The new policy will be enforced for all freshmen, Schoffstall said. Sophomores, juniors and seniors, meanwhile, will have to adhere to the policy on a semester-by-semester basis. That means that for an upperclassmen to participate in an extracurricular activity, he or she must have obtained a 2.0 GPA in the previous semester.
But by the 2013-14 school year, Schoffstall said, the restriction will apply to all Valley View students.
"I think this is a good thing for the students," said Board President Steven Quigley. "They are student-athletes or student-after school program participants. They are not participants or athletes first."
The board also voted to insert a new clause that would eliminate students if they earned an F in any course—the addition fixed a minor flaw that could allow a student to earn As in five classes while earning an F in another, said board member Richar Gougis III. In that scenario, the student would clearly meet the 2.0 GPA requirement but still be failing a course.
Gougis said a very small number of students would actually be affected by the policy change.
Some could call the policy unfair to struggling students and one that excludes certain children from participating in after-school activities.
Gougis, though, said that was backward thinking.
"That is just such a flawed thought (that the policy will exclude students)," he said. "If we believe they can do it, they can do it. It's not like we are asking for a 3.5 (GPA), we are asking for a 2.0 (GPA)."
Under the new policy, grades for students participating in extracurricular activities will be monitored every three weeks. And if students are close to falling below the 2.0 GPA requirement, they would be placed in an intervention program or with a mentor to help bring them back above par.
According to a school press release, the school district will communicate the change via two different letters, one to families with freshmen and another to families of sophomores, juniors and seniors.