By Sydney Yalshevec

Board of education instituting policy changes

Changes will include a "no F" policy that will affect student eligibility in sports


Sydney Yalshevec

While the Board of Education has institued cosmetic changes, such as the playground at Mary Lynch Elementary pictured above, they are also making changes to the student handbook and policies in order to encourage students to put more efforts into academics, especiallly involved in the school systems athletic programs.

School is back in session which means that the Board of Education will be instituting changes made to the handbook and other policies over the summer months.

The board met on July concerning the handbook changes. While most changes presented concerned the elimination of unnecessary wording and the inclusion of the School Resource Officer, when concerning disciplinary action, one particular change will be of major interest to parents and students alike.

The board approved a change to the Kimball Junior/Senior High School Parent Student Handbook relating to the past one "F" policy. Previously on page 67 of the parent-student handbook, it was noted that students' eligibility in sports activities were conditional. Students were allowed to participate in sports so long as they had no more than one "F" in a class.

This means that a student was still eligible to play their sport of choice even if they were failing math, as long as they maintained a "D" or higher in their other classes.

This particular rule was one of distress to some teachers.

"What some of the students do with this policy is they view it as a "failing allowance" to some extent. A lot of the teachers have said that the students tend to pick one class as their 'It's okay to fail' class, and they know they can be failing that class but still be eligible to play," Kimball Public Schools Superintendent Marshall Lewis said.

Teachers have noticed that the one "F" eligibility policy does produce a cavalier attitude when it comes to grades in particular classes.

As a result, the new handbook contains a change that will hopefully get students to care more about their academics.

In section 5 under the Academic Grade Standard for Activities Participation, under point 1 it clearly states what the students must now do to maintain eligibility to participate in in extracurriculars.

"Maintain passing grades in all classes. Any student failing one or more classes when grades are checked is ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities until the student has worked his/her way off the eligibility list. Grades will be calculated on Monday and enforcement will begin on Wednesday. Also, any student who fails a class during the first or third quarter will automatically be deemed ineligible for the first week of the following quarter," the handbook stated.

It was noted during the board of education meeting that in order for this policy to be effective that the teachers must be up-to-date with all of their grades on a weekly basis.

"The teachers know they need to be up-to-date because that will determine these students' participation, but there are also rules in place for the students so that they aren't running around last minute demanding that their teacher sign an eligibility check form," Lewis said.

The handbook goes on to further clarify the process that must be followed by each student in order to regain eligibility for participation in their preferred extra-curricular.

"Any student who is ineligible can obtain an eligibility check form from the Jr./Sr. High School Office. The student then must have all his/her teachers sign the form and return it to the AD. The eligibility check form needs to be returned to the AD the same day it is issued or a new form will need to be obtained. Once this process is completed, the student will be deemed eligible immediately provided they are not failing any classes and the eligibility check form has been turned in the day before the activity," the handbook stated.

The idea behind the new policy is to produce more academically aware and responsible students.

"We are hoping that we can get students' grades up, and they will see the importance of their grades," Lewis said.

The changes to the Mary Lynch Parent-Student handbook were merely that of some wording and included an added definition of tobacco.

"Tobacco means any tobacco product (including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco), vapor products (such as e-cigarettes), alternative nicotine products, tobacco look-alikes and products intended to replicate tobacco products either by appearance or effect," the Mary Lynch handbook stated.

Mary Lynch's other update included the acquisition of a new playground for the younger grades. Mary Lynch had originally much larger playgrounds that proved difficult for smaller, younger children to play on.

"We have a lot of smaller children, more than ever I think, and it's really important that we have a playground that can accommodate these real tiny kids we're getting," Mitchell said.

The playground obtained and set up in the Mary Lynch school yard is regulation size for children three years of age through six years of age. It is small enough so that the preschool children can play on it without a hazard. Previously, not having an appropriately-sized playground for younger children posed as a liability and created an issue if ever the school were to be inspected.

The new playground sits at the east side of the school yard, closest to the younger grades' classrooms.

The new policies for the schools go into effect immediately with an adjustment period for things like the "no F" policy.


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