Watkins Glen school board discusses eligibility rules

Nov 30, 2022 at 10:44 pm by Observer-Review

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Watkins Glen school board discusses eligibility rules

WATKINS GLEN--At the Monday, Nov. 28, school board meeting, Watkins Glen Central School administrators offered early results of the newly implemented eligibility policy that took effect at the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
With 12 weeks of the school year in the grade books and the second marking period nearing the end, school administrators have noted some confusion among coaches, students and parents. In addition, leadership has noted, "some conflict" between the policy and the district's desire to create an atmosphere that fosters connectivity and engagement between students and their school, both academically and through extracurricular activities.
"We're still building systems," said Superintendent Kai D'Alleva. "The key is going to be how we communicate."
The new policy, which documents academic standards required to participate in athletic and other extracurricular activities including clubs and school dances, can be found online: https://tinyurl.com/wgcsdpolicy. The policy states, "To be fully eligible for extracurricular activities, students must be passing all subjects at the end of each marking period," and has a detailed set of steps to maintain eligibility if that standard is not met. This includes attending extra tutoring sessions and improving grades to a satisfactory level that removes the student from the academic support list.
The district has shared the new policy in various communication vehicles since the semester began and expects to continue to do so, with the goal of making sure all constituents understand the new policy.
Although administrators and board members acknowledged that some fine-tuning and additional communication are needed, the concept driving the new policy was still endorsed by those at the meeting.
More specifically, the policy, which was described as a "big change" from the previous version, was lauded for several reasons. It applies to everyone and holds all students to the same standards. In addition, the policy empowers students to become self-advocates, encouraging students to make appointments with teachers to facilitate learning. The policy also allows students to arrange for extra academic help during the school day, rather than mandating after-school sessions.
"This is a new system," said Board Member Craig Bianco. "We knew there would be aspects that would need to be ironed out."
In other discussions, D'Alleva shared the results of benchmarking with regional schools that identified which districts charge community members to attend athletic contests during regular season play. Watkins Glen is one of two schools that charge spectators to attend basketball and football games. Historically, gate fees could total approximately $1,000. The take is significantly less now, given access to live streaming and a shrinking population. Board members will continue the discussion at a future meeting, with the possibility of eliminating admission fees on the table.
D'Alleva also provided an update on the move away from using Native American names and imagery in schools. Watkins has focused on its geographic location in proximity to the lake with the continued use of the Senecas name and has removed Native American imagery. An additional order made recently by the New York State Education Department means more information is needed before any additional decisions are made.
The board discussed the potential purchase of electric-powered buses. All agreed that the goal of protecting the environment is positive. They also agreed that reliable transportation for students is critical. Adding electric buses to the fleet was postponed.
The district is in the final selection stage for choosing a consultant to guide the strategic planning process with a decision expected in early December.
Finally, board members unanimously passed a resolution to purchase land next to the International Motor Racing Research Center.





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