THS system tracks academic performance of athletes

Dec. 09, 2013 @ 02:17 PM

Thomasville High School is taking steps to ensure student athletes stay academically eligible.
THS guidelines currently require students to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA and 85 percent attendance to participate in athletics.
Principal Deboy Beamon and former superintendent Keith Tobin in 2011 felt NCHSAA guidelines requiring students to pass only three of four blocks were too lenient and a change was made. With two full years complete under the new format, administrators are devising a strategy to identify student-athletes who may be at risk of becoming academically ineligible.
"We want to develop an accountability program for our academic eligibility at the high school," Athletic Director Steve Bare said at the Dec. 2  Board of Education meeting. "What we've done is identify student-athletes that we consider at-risk and put them on a watch list. We make the coaches, student athletes and families aware of their status on this academic concern watch list."
Student-athletes identified to be at-risk may receive additional tutorial time every week. The student must attend a tutorial or after school remediation at least twice a week to compete. Students also can reach out to individual classroom teachers, but it must be documented.
THS basketball coach Gil Maxwell heads up a study hall where students can do their homework either before or after school.
The challenge now is getting more teachers on board and building a support network for not just athletes but all students.
"There is some room for improvement," Bare said. "What we would like to do is develop a more clear channel of communication between classroom teachers who may or may not be available to stay after school. We're trying to find a way to streamline that and offer the student an opportunity to get the assistance they need."
Chad Tesh, principal of the freshman academy, said he already has identified at-risk students and their eligibility.
"I know who exactly they are, they know exactly who they are and the coaches know exactly who they are," said Tesh.  "It's not a 'gotcha ya.' That's not why we do it."
Bare said the key now is to develop a transparency so students know where they stand academically and consistently track their grades. Whether or not a student participates depends on their report card or progress report. 
"To get into the gym you've got to have a ticket," Bare said. "The ticket is your report card. Nobody goes in until I see it. At this point, they now understand that on those days when I'm standing out on the porch they know what I'm waiting on. As they come in we get the chance to talk and then I can identify who I need to kind of follow up with. We know it's not perfect but we feel like we're moving in the right direction."
Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin said it's important that students are prepared academically as well as athletically.
"Having tutors available before school, during school and after school to provide an extra set of hands in those content areas is going to be critical for us," said Pitre-Martin.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.