Mt. Hope High School retracts more lenient policy for athletes


Mt. Hope High School student athletes heard word of a liberal new academic policy  regarding participation in extra-curricular activities Monday night, during a student athlete orientation in the high school auditorium.

However, within 24 hours, that new policy was retracted.

The would-be policy stated that students would be able to fail two classes and still participate in extra-curricular activities. This was a change from the previous policy, in which students could only fail one class and continue to participate.

"I think this was just a miscommunication in an effort to notify the students and parents of the new proposed policy before the start of the school, especially," said Mario Andrade, assistant superintendent of the Bristol Warren Regional School District. "Especially the desire to ensure the necessary support plans for students failing or in danger of failing as outlined in the new draft."

Several months ago, the school committee was approached by members of the high school's school improvement team - SIT - about an official policy regarding class failures and extracurricular participation. The school committee did not make an official policy, but made their opinion known on the matter, said Marjorie McBride, school committee member. The school committee was not in favor of increasing the class fail limit.

"When changes are made to the handbook, the school committee sees it," Ms. McBride said during a school committee policy subcommittee meeting Monday night. "And we did not see this. It was just announced. I don't appreciate this."

The high school continued to work on revising the policy and the result was distributed Monday night.

"The high school will be disseminating a clarification letter," Mr. Andrade said. "Until the new version is adopted by the school committee, the high school will follow the former policy."

SIT is comprised of 14 members, including teachers, parents and members of the Parent-Teacher Organization.


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A passing grade is a D, just how stupid are these kids?

There should be no failure policy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Report this

As a member of the School Committee, these kids are not stupid and your comment was plain offensive. The current academic eligibility requirements are no F's. Anything below a D disqualifies a student from participating in extracurricular activities. This has been the policy for the past 3 years. Bristol/ Warren has the strictest eligibility requirements of any public high school in the state if a Rhode Island. The reported had that fact wrong.

That being said, the new policy proposed by the SIT team did not follow the proper channels and go before the School Committee before it was put into the handbook. Now that that policy has been rescinded, I am confident the SIT team and the School Committee will now work together to revise the policy that will be acceptable to all parties involved and most importantly for the students it effects. I for one, will not support any policy that allows for 2 F's even if restrictions and supports are a part of that grade.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Report this

I personally think that the first comment made was extremely rude. I believe however, students should be able to fail 2 classes and then be able to still continue sports. But, before I firmly believe in that.

Mrs. Lynch, What is the current policy? I understand after the student gets a D on their report card they can not participate in extra curricular activities. But my question is, What is there for student athletes when they fail? Are they put in a after school program and and tutored in the subject they failed? Or is it up to them to get their grades back up?

If so, then a proposal to the BWSC, If a student athlete fails they should be placed in a tutored session. After 6 weeks they can go in front of guidance councilors and the AD and show them their improvements and asked to be placed back on the Active Roster of that sport.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Report this

Joyce did get one thing correct, they are just "kids." They shouldn't be punished for being imperfect.

If students aren't passing classes they should get mandatory tutoring. Kicking them off clubs or teams won't solve their poor performance in the classroom. Some kids will probably perform even worse after suffering the embarrassment of being kicked off a team.

We need solutions, not punishment.


Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Report this

As a current coach at Mt. Hope, I am familiar with the current policy. As it stands right now, any student that has a SINGLE failing grade is permitted to tryout for a team (or theatrical performance, etc...I believe it applies to ALL extra-curriculars), and they are allow to practice, rehearse, etc., but they are NOT permitted to participate in athletic contests (i.e. games, performances, etc.) Any student with two or more failing grades is not allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities...PERIOD. In my opinion, this is a fair policy, and the newly introduced (and later rescinded policy) was far too lenient, however, there is one major flaw (and this has happened...I've seen it):

What about the honors student who has maintained a 3.75 GPA, and chooses to challenge them self by taking an A.P. or honors class, and then they fail because the subject matter just simply isn't their "milieu?" They are not allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities. Meanwhile, a student who has received straight D's across the board in lower level classes is allowed to participate in all activities. In my opinion, this flaw in the policy is unfair to students who choose to challenge themselves, and actually discourages students from challenging themselves academically.

In my opinion, the policy should be based upon the overall GPA...not based upon single grades from a single quarter. I understand that this puts certain students at a disadvantage, as after a student's freshman year, it is difficult to improve a GPA dramatically. That being said, however, for those students whose GPA's suffer for external reasons (i.e. death in the family, illness, unforeseen circumstances, etc.), certain allowances can be made. The purpose of the policy is not to punish students who struggle, but rather encourage those who do not take their academics seriously to do so.

I hope that members of the school committee read this comment, and may perhaps even bring this suggestion to the SIT team, and also the administration.


Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Report this

Also, there are plenty of "tutoring" opportunities for students who have failed...there are extended day programs, the Mt. Hope Plus program, as well as the fact that students are more than welcome to stay after, or come in early to meet with their teachers. The issue is that it is up to THEM to enroll. The new Athletic Director has required all athletes to complete a mid-season progress report, and for those students who are struggling, she will require (or recommend, based upon the situation), that they attend extended day. The long answer to your question is, YES. There are many programs available that give students the opportunity to improve.

Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Report this

Joe, sorry it took so long to respond to your question, but Warrenite25 did a good job laying out the current policy. When we made the decision over 6 years ago to tighten up our policy from what Rhode Island Scholastic League requires which is no more that 2 1/2 F's to participate in athletics to no F's, we made sure we funded the supports our students would need to get their grades back up to passing. Also part of that decision was to make sure all extracurricular activities were held to the same requirements and not just the athletes.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Report this

I also agree with Warrenite25 that a GPA needs to be part of the solution. A student with A's and B's but an F in an AP or Honors class should be looked at differently that a student with 5 D's and an F. I don't want a student to opt out of an honors or AP class for fear of failing off a team or extracurricular activity. Our policy has been no F's for 3 years and like anything else sometimes we need to revisit our policies to see if changes should be made and how best to make them for the benefit of our students. I hope that now the Administration and the School Committee can get together to find that solution, but as i stated before, I don't believe that solution should be 2 F's.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Report this

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