Student-athletes at will be expected to have slightly better grades to participate, starting this winter.
Previously, one F was allowed and students could still participate on a sports team. Now, under changes that got an initial OK from the School Committee on Monday night, students must pass all classes with a 65 or higher and must have a 70 or higher for two of the five major subjects, including foreign languages.
“This is a work in progress,” said Danvers High School Principal Susan Ambrozavitch. School leaders will look at how it affects student athletes.
The changes are part of a reworking of the high school’s student handbook. The criteria extend beyond sports to other extracurricular activities such as band and theater.
“We felt this was the right time to make changes for the winter season,” said Mark DeCiccio, a new assistant principal at the high school.
The changes are part of an overhaul of the high school student handbook by DeCiccio, with most of the other changes minor and designed to align it closer to the format used at and eliminate some of the verbose language, Ambrozavitch said.
“You can be sort of scraping by and not lose your eligibility,” said School Committee member Eric Crane.
Pass/fail courses and physical education classes will still not count towards calculating eligibility.
Parents were surveyed about the changes and Ambrozavitch said they expressed “overwhelming support.” There was some concern, she said, that the changes could impact students most at risk of feeling that they do not belong and Athletic Director John Sullivan said, while in school, he could have been impacted by the new policy.
Committee Chairman Arthur Skarmeas said he did not see the new policy as onerous and said it is easier to follow too.
“I don’t think it is asking too much for them to be passing every subject,” Skarmeas said.
On its first reading on Monday, three School Committee members - Skarmeas, Crane and Connie Pawlak - all backed the changes. Board members Jean McCartin and David Thomson were not it attendance.