2017-10-27 / Community

Cape changes eligibility requirements for athletes

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – Cape Elizabeth has always prided itself on the strength of its athletic teams, but those athletes will now have to meet additional eligibility requirements if they want to continue playing on Capers sports teams.

Like before, students will have to meet academic eligibility requirements, but per a decision Oct. 10 by the school board, athletes will also have to prove their habits of work are up to snuff Habits of work is defined in the policy as completing work in a timely manner and “remaining for extra help from school staff when scheduled.”

To remain eligible, students must be passing a minimum of four classes and achieve a passing grade (70 or above) habits of work in “all courses or all but one course.”

The idea to allow students who are not passing habits of work requirements in a single class to retain eligibility came from high school Principal Jeff Shedd, after he spoke with students and staff about the potential new eligibility requirement.

It was something the board could get behind.

“This is a reasonable first step for us in really encouraging timeliness and responsibility responding to teachers we are hoping for as we go down this path of habits of work,” said school board member Barbara Powers.

Ali Ingalls, a student representative on the board, appreciated the one class reprieve because it acts as a “warning or a chance for students to get their grade up before being completely ineligible.”

Ingalls did wonder, and worry, about if students are deemed ineligible, were they barred from just games, or practices as well. Shedd told the Sentry after the meeting historically ineligible meant a student athletic could not participate in team activities – practices or games – for the ineligibility period.

“If students are academically ineligible, they have to sit out at least two weeks to up to a quarter depending on how many courses they are failing,” he said of the old policy.

Eligibility will be checked six times a year, rather than quarterly.

Because this is a new approach, ineligibility for the 2017-2018 school year will be two weeks. Students, and their families, will be notified if they are ineligible via email no later than one week after the checkpoint. The eligibility period begins with the issuance of that email.

Although a new element to eligibility, school board member John Voltz said habits of work are “really, really important.”

“I hope this will reflect that and I think you’ll see that more and more as we work through this,” he said.

Aside from adopting the new eligibility policy on Oct. 10, board members also approved the school department’s Administrators’ Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Plan, filled 38 administrative, athletic and extracurricular positions at the high school, middle school and district, approved Cape Elizabeth High School United Nations/ World Affairs Council trips to Boston College and Dartmouth College next spring and finalized the job description for the content leader positions at the middle school. The board also heard a presentation from Director of Instruction Cathy Stankard about how Cape Elizabeth students did on the Maine Education Assessment during the 2016-2017 school year. Stankard told board members she will dig into the results deeper and report back to them in the near future about what the results mean.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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