YOUNGSTOWN SCHOOLS Grade requirement for activities raised

One board member wants to raise the minimum grade point average even higher.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The board of education has raised the academic standard for participation in interscholastic athletics and other extracurricular activities.
By a 6-0 vote, the board raised the minimum grade point average for participation in these activities from the current 1.0 to 1.25 for the 2002-03 school year, giving pupils and their parents a year's advance notice of the change.
Board member Terri O'Connor left the Tuesday meeting to attend to family responsibilities before the vote.
Under the resolution, pupils who have at least a 1.0 GPA may become eligible for fall sports if they attend summer school at their families' expense to raise their GPA to the required 1.25.
Focus: "Most of the emphasis on this board in the last three years has been on curriculum enhancement. This, in my estimation, fits that policy very nicely because it raises the bar and tells the students," said board president John Maluso.
"Our primary concern about you is to get an education, and, if you wish to participate, we're not taking the bar down to you. You come up to our bar," he added.
"I think this sends the right message to the students," said board member Gerri Sullivan, who added that the athletic coaches are to be commended for taking time to help pupils develop academically as well as athletically.
Superintendent Benjamin McGee noted that the board continues to require, as it has in the past, that pupils who haven't passed all parts of the proficiency test must participate in proficiency intervention programs to be eligible for sports and other extracurricular activities.
Lock P. Beachum, board vice president, said the key to pupil academic performance is effective leadership from the school principals.
Board member Tracey Winbush said she favors raising the minimum to at least 2.0 or even 2.5 GPA in future years.
"Anything less than a C is below average, and I believe our students need to rise above the bar," she said.
In Akron: The board's action came one day after a divided Akron Board of Education declined, for the second time in a month, to raise its GPA requirement for athletic and extracurricular participation from 1.5 to 2.0. The Akron board voted 5-2 Monday to table the proposal, which was stalled in that board's May 29 meeting by a 3-3 vote.

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