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Policy 9070 - Academic Eligibility for High School Extracurricular Activities

The purpose of this policy is to establish minimum academic criteria that must be met by high school students in order to be eligible to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to providing a well-rounded program of education-based student activities for high school students as a complement to the academic program. The Board further recognizes that to best carry out the vision and mission of the school system, extracurricular activities will not, in any way, supplant academics as the primary focus of the school system.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish minimum academic criteria that must be met by high school students in order to be eligible to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Extracurricular Activities – Activities, available to students beyond the regular school day, which are voluntary and not required for the satisfactory completion of a particular class.

  2. Education-Based Student Activities – Approved extracurricular activities that promote learning while contributing to the educational program of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and to the development of good citizenship.

  3. Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – Provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet a student’s individual educational needs.

  4. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who had been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article §5-507.

IV. Standards

  1. This policy governs minimum academic eligibility for student participation in extracurricular activities for which there is a HCPSS contracted sponsor. There are no academic eligibility standards for extracurricular activities participation when participation is required as part of a course and for clubs and activities with a sponsor not contracted by HCPSS.

  2. For high school, a full-time student earns academic eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities by maintaining a 2.0 grade-point average (GPA), calculated using credit or non-credit courses, with no more than one failing grade for the marking period which governs eligibility for that activity.

    1. This provision does not apply to incoming 9th grade students for fall eligibility.

    2. Incomplete grades must be converted to a letter grade to determine eligibility. (Policy 8020 - Grading and Reporting: High School)

    3. If a student withdraws from a course, the grades at the time of withdrawal will be used in determining academic eligibility.

  3. Weighted grades will be used for academic eligibility for extracurricular activities, including high school athletics.

  4. These marking period criteria will be followed in addition to IV. B. above.

    1. Seasonal:

      1. Each extracurricular activity is governed by only one marking period.

      2. A student must earn academic eligibility prior to the start of the activity.

      3. Academic eligibility is determined by the student’s last report card.

      4. Once academic eligibility has been determined, the student remains academically eligible for the duration of that activity season (e.g., basketball season).

    2. Yearlong:

      1. In the cases of yearlong activities or those which do not have a particular time frame, eligibility will be reviewed at the end of each marking period during which the student participates.

      2. In cases of yearlong activities or those which do not have a particular time frame, if a student is academically ineligible prior to the start of the activity, his/her eligibility will be reviewed at the end of each marking period.

      3. A student who has not earned academic eligibility prior to the start of the activity, for a particular time frame, may not become eligible during the course of the activity.

    3. The Marking Periods for Academic Eligibility are determined by the following:

      1. Interscholastic Athletics

        1. Fall sport eligibility – For incoming 9th grade students, all students are eligible for fall athletics. For all returning students, eligibility is determined by the final marking period grades of the preceding June.

        2. Winter sport eligibility – Determined by the grades earned on the closest report card issued prior to November 15.

        3. Spring sport eligibility – Determined by the grades earned on the closest report card issued prior to March 1.

      2. Other Extracurricular Activities

        1. Activities, such as try-outs or auditions for plays, announcing candidacy for elective office are governed by the report card most immediately preceding the start of the activity.

        2. In the case of non-required trips by performing groups, the report card most immediately preceding the trip will govern.

          Students who have less than a 2.0 grade point average with no more than one failing grade for the final marking period may attend summer school and raise the appropriate grade and the GPA to gain eligibility for fall interscholastic athletics and other extracurricular activities. HCPSS authorized summer school courses taken in order to gain academic eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities must be approved in advance by the principal/designee. (Policy 8020 - Grading and Reporting: High School)

  5. Special Education Students/504 students

    1. A special education student may receive a waiver of academic ineligibility from the local school Individualized Education Program (IEP) team only if it is determined that failure to meet the academic eligibility requirement is a direct result of not providing Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and that the failure to provide FAPE led to the student being academically ineligible. Such a determination by the IEP team is to be reported immediately to the school principal who will then certify the student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities.

    2. A student with a 504 Plan may receive a waiver of academic ineligibility from the local 504 team when it is determined that FAPE was not provided, and that the failure to provide FAPE led to the student being academically ineligible. Such a determination by the 504 team is to be reported immediately to the school principal who will then certify the student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities.

V. Responsibilities

  1. A student participating in athletics and his/her parent/guardian will certify the student’s academic eligibility by signing the HCPSS participation form prior to participation.

  2. Sponsors will verify the academic eligibility of each student who desires to participate in a nonathletic extracurricular activity prior to the first activity participation.

  3. Athletic coaches will verify the academic eligibility of each athlete who desires to participate on their team prior to the tryouts.

  4. Athletics and Activities Managers (AAM) will verify the academic eligibility of each athlete participating on athletic teams at his/her school prior to the first game.

  5. The principal/designee will certify that all students participating in a nonathletic extracurricular activity meet academic eligibility requirements prior to the first activity.

  6. The principal/designee will certify that each athlete representing his/her school meets the HCPSS’s academic eligibility requirements prior to the first game.

  7. The Superintendent/Designee will provide a list of system-paid sponsors.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is directed to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  • Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §5-112

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §7-101 (c) Kinship Care

  • Family Law Article §5-507

C. Relevant Data Sources

  • ASPEN Sports and Activities Ineligibility report

D. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: July 23, 1981

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

REVISED: May 9, 1991, January 28, 1993, August 22, 1996, May 25, 2000, January 27, 2005, April 25, 2013

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2013