SHARON, PA. 'No F' policy gets revision

Middle and high school administrators persuaded the board to tone down the punitive nature of the grade policy.
SHARON, Pa. -- The proposed "No F" policy for students in grades seven through 12 in the Sharon City School District is getting yet another revision.
The plan, as introduced originally by School Director Richard Mancino, would bar pupils from interscholastic and nongraded co-curricular activities if they had a failing grade in any subject during the school year.
Pupils would have their privileges reinstated when they brought that grade up to at least a D.
The proposal underwent an extensive revision in July when Superintendent Richard Rossi suggested that it contain a tutorial program to aid pupils with failing grades, and also ban failing pupils from all school-related activities such as social events and athletic games until they achieve a passing grade.
Affects all: That way, the policy would affect all pupils, even those not involved in sports or co-curricular activities such as school plays and clubs, he said.
The majority of the board seemed willing to accept that version and the policy passed the first of two required readings last month.
However, the middle and high school administrators took exception to what high school principal Robert Alcaro termed the punitive nature of the plan during a school board work session Wednesday.
Alcaro said the administrators disagreed with Rossi and suggested that the portion banning failing pupils from social events and athletic games be dropped.
It's unenforceable, Alcaro said.
That sentiment was echoed by Atty. Mark Longietti, board solicitor, who called it "an enforcement nightmare" and also recommended the provision be dropped.
Suspension: The administrators suggested that an automatic one-week suspension from all activities for failing pupils be dropped too.
Alcaro said the suspension is punitive, whereas the goal should be to aid pupils in academic trouble.
Pupils who attend and make an effort in the tutorial sessions should be allowed to participate in their activities of interest despite a failing grade, he said, noting the study sessions would run after school four nights a week for middle school and three nights a week for high school pupils.
Running the study sessions will cost about $15,000 a year, Alcaro said.
Mancino said he has no problem with eliminating the ban on attendance at social events and athletic games but he argued in favor of keeping the automatic one-week suspension.
However, this time the majority of the board appears willing to support the administrators' suggestions and, because of the changes, the revised version of the policy is to be presented again for the first of two required readings at Monday's regular board meeting.

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