Ineligibility is a grade policy that affects about 5-10% of McNicholas’s student population, and probation affects up to about 20%. Ineligibility, according to the Ohio High School Association, requires students to pass at least five full credit classes to be eligible for extracurricular activities for the following quarter.
McNicholas’s rule for eligibility chooses to put students who are failing two or more classes onto probation until the next grade check, and if in two weeks the student is still failing two or more classes, then they will be deemed ineligible. “The state mandates checking every quarter,” Student Moderator Dan Rosenbaum said. McNicholas, however, chooses to check grades after the first three weeks of school, then every two weeks for the remainder of the year.
“Keeping your grades up is important,” Rosenbaum said. “First and foremost, we’re here to obtain full stature in Christ, but we are also here to learn.”
Ineligibility checks help identify those students who are in need of academic help. “There’s issues that need to be addressed,” Rosenbaum said. Probation is a warning sign for students, and ineligibility is a motivator for students to get their grades up so they can participate in extracurricular activities again. Jeff Mulvey, a coach and English teacher, said, “No parents should be sending their student to be an athlete… if they’re not keeping [up with] school, the most important thing.”
There are many factors that can cause students to become ineligible. While early in the school year, Rosenbaum reported that fewer students are on probation and ineligible because “students seem to be more motivated.” However, as the year progresses and the weather becomes gloomier, he said, “It gets harder to keep up.”
Rosenbaum has observed that students can be intimidated by teachers when teachers are there to help their students. Mulvey advised, “You don’t have to wait until you have a 62 in a class to come talk to someone.” Ineligibility is something that can help students, and isn’t meant to hurt them. “First it’s identifying that there is a problem and what that problem is,” Rosenbaum said. There are also ways for students to get assistance with their low grades, because students, “earn their eligibility,” Rosenbaum added. “If a kid is struggling, teachers are here for extra help,” he added. “Teachers can be a great resource.”