Policy Input – Magnet Students Participate in Sports

DeKalb Schools administration is requesting the board to allow students enrolled full-time at DeKalb Early College (DECA), DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA) or Arabia Mountain High School, to participate in competitive interscholastic activities at their regularly zoned school.

Georgia High School Association (GHSA) governs athletics and activities for high schools across Georgia. GHSA organizes sports and academic competitions as well as overseeing registration, training, and approves local area sports officials associations.
GHSA has recently changed their Constitution and By-Laws to allow students at magnet schools to participate in sports at their home school with certain restrictions.


POLICY CHANGE AGENDA ITEM
This policy change was presented at the March 19 board meeting.
The board will discuss and vote on this policy change next Monday, April 16. You may comment here or send comments directly to the school district and legal team.


PROPOSED Redline version of rewritten policy.
Consistent with GHSA By-Laws Section 1.62(n), students enrolled full-time at DeKalb Early
College Academy (DECA), DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA), or Arabia Mountain High School,
all of which meet the United States Department of Education’s definition of a “magnet school,”
may participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at the school they would ordinarily attend
according to DeKalb County Board of Education attendance policy (the “home school”) under
the following conditions:
1. If the school in which the student is enrolled offers the GHSA extracurricular activity in
which the student wishes to participate, the student shall be required to participate as a
member of the school in which he/she is enrolled.
2. Students may not participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at both the school in
which the student is enrolled and the home school. Instead, students must elect to
participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at only one school per school year. For
example, students could not play basketball at the school of enrollment and football at
the home school.
3. The election of the student to participate in GHSA extracurricular activities for either the
school of enrollment or the home school shall be binding for the current school year.
4. Students shall be required to comply with all GHSA eligibility and other rules.
5. Students shall remain subject to all applicable requirements for continued enrollment at
DECA, DSA, and Arabia Mountain, as well as all applicable requirements for
participation in the GHSA extracurricular activity. Students shall be solely responsible
for providing any and all transportation necessary for participation in the GHSA
extracurricular activity.


HOME SCHOOL – TIM TEBOW ACT
Currently, GHSA constitution and by-laws do not allow for home school students to participate in GHSA-sanctioned athletics even though they pay taxes.
However, a bill was dropped in the House (and an identical one in the Senate) that would require GHSA and school districts to allow home school students to participate in athletics in their resident school system under certain conditions.  You can read the text of the House bill here (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20172018/173071.pdf) and the Senate bill here (http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20172018/172391.pdf).
A second hearing on SB 384, the Tim Tebow Act, was as far as the got.  Robin Hines, Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association, spoke to the issues the Association has with the bill — verification of academic eligibility, handling discipline issues, setting a precedent, and the schools becoming a cafeteria-style community program.  GSSA, GAEL, and GSBA echoed his concerns.  Only one person spoke in support of the bill.  No action was taken.


Magnet schools for high achievers
DeKalb County operates six magnet schools for high achievers:
Kittredge Magnet School
Wadsworth Magnet School
Chamblee Middle School
Chapel Hill Middle School
Chamblee Charter High School
Southwest DeKalb High School
Magnet schools of the arts
DeKalb Elementary School of the Arts
DeKalb School of the Arts
Other magnet schools
Clifton Elementary School – math, science and computer education
Evansdale Elementary School – math, science and French
Columbia Middle School – math, science and technology
Arabia Mountain High School – environment, energy and engineering
Columbia High School – math, science and technology

14 responses to “Policy Input – Magnet Students Participate in Sports

  1. Stan, from your post, it sounds like this is the first time the BOE will hear this policy change request. What happened to the Board’s policy requiring a policy change to lie on the table for 30 days prior to a vote to solicit stakeholder input? The proposed BOE policy changes used to have to be posted on the BOE web site for 30 days with an avenue for input to be shared. Is that still happening?
    FWIW, I’m in favor of the change.

  2. Stan Jester

    That’s still the case. I’ll update the post to reflect the history.
    POLICY CHANGE AGENDA ITEM
    This policy change was presented at the March 19 board meeting.
    The board will discuss and vote on this policy change next Monday, April 16. You may comment here or send comments directly to the school district and legal team.

  3. Stan I feel another issue that needs to be addressed is that qualified students who receive a drawing in to the magnet program at CCHS and transfer after freshman year are made to sit out a year if they previously played a varsity sport at their school. IMO, the county is the boundary for magnet program housed at CCHS and students who qualify and are randomly selected should not be punished by sitting out the year.

  4. So, weird story … I ran into someone who mentioned her child was a student at Arabia. I commented on what a nice school it is … and what a good magnet program I’ve heard it was. She said it ‘used to be a magnet school for math, science and engineering, but it’s not anymore’. ??? Is she misinformed or has Arabia dropped their magnet program?

  5. Arabia Mountain HS doesn’t have an attendance zone. DeKalb Schools Choice Programs says Arabia Mountain High School is an Environment, Energy & Engineering magnet. Program Description: Students will be challenged by the magnet program curriculum focused on Engineering, Energy and Environmental sciences.

  6. Pat, GHSA says, students must elect to participate in GHSA extracurricular activities at only one school per school year.” So, if a student transfers mid year, then they have to continue to play at the last school for the rest of that year … according to GHSA.

  7. Stan and Cere,
    Arabia Mountain HS has 2 programs:
    1 – Environment, Energy & Engineering Magnet
    2 – Career Pathways Program
    I don’t see how the Career Pathways program qualifies as a Magnet program. There are NO academic requirements for selection.
    By contrast, the AMHS Magnet program requires a 3.0 GPA in core subjects plus 1-3 academic recommendations. The AMHS brochure says a 75th percentile on MAP Math and Reading is required.
    So I wonder if the proposed DCSD policy change is just for the AMHS Magnet student, or for any AMHS student. Sounds mighty strange to me.

  8. I don’t believe magnets have to have academic requirements for selection. Which students? The policy, as proposed, says “students enrolled full-time at DeKalb Early College Academy (DECA), DeKalb School of the Arts (DSA), or Arabia Mountain High School”

  9. I have 4 general comments.
    1. Policy should be general rather than specific. It would be better for this policy to state the circumstances under which Magnet, or any other student, can choose whether to play sports at their home school or their Magnet school.
    Including specific school names means that someone has to review the policy frequently, as things change. I’m not sure that DCSD does this very well, and it could have a big impact on a student athlete if something changes and that student loses eligibility.
    2. What’s the significance that DECA, DSA, and AMHS meet the United States Department of Education’s definition of a “magnet school”?
    Are these the only DCSD School Choice programs that meet that definition? What about the other high school programs that Stan lists? If these schools meet that definition, then why can’t those Magnet students be afforded the same privilege as DCSD wants to give DECA, DSA, and AMHS?
    What about International Baccalaureate schools? Do these programs meet the United States Department of Education’s definition of a “magnet school?”
    If these schools don’t meet that definition, it would be great to know why.
    3. Is DECA a Magnet school? There are no academic requirements to enter DECA, and it’s not even listed on the DCSD School Choice website.
    4. Think about whether this policy is equitable. To play sports at their home school, students would have to travel from their Magnet school to their home school in time for practice.
    Students who depend on a school bus to get to and from their Magnet school would then have to get from their “Hub” location back to their home school before practice ends. This would be a disadvantage vs. students who had their own cars or had someone to drive them.
    The distance between their Magnet school and their home school is also a big factor. For example, the 142 Stephenson HS students who attend AMHS would have a very hard time traveling back to Stephenson before practice ended.
    The 16 Towers HS students at DSA could probably get back to Towers in time for practice, but DSA students residing in the Dunwoody or Stephenson districts probably couldn’t get back in time for practice.
    The District would be better served if it presented a strong case for why this policy change is needed. The fact that they haven’t done so makes me wonder if there’s something sneaky going on. If there’s a good reason that helps all students, then by all means make the change.

  10. This seems like a no-brainer to me. If your magnet school doesn’t have a program, you should be able to participate at your zoned school. Frankly, I would remove the 2nd and 3rd points about switching back and forth during a school year. It’s easy to see a situation where a magnet school doesn’t have a football team, but they do have basketball. Why shouldn’t a kid be allowed to play football locally and basketball for the magnet?
    Regarding Tebow – I certainly see where that is ripe for abuse, it seems easy enough to satisfy that with some kind of standardized testing. If the NCAA can get comfortable with home schooled eligibility, I think DeKalb County should be able to find a way.
    I would actually take Tebow a step further to include private schools. For example: What if a kid plays lacrosse, but his school doesn’t have a lacrosse program? I think he should be allowed to play for his local school. \
    I would assume this applies to all programs, and not just athletics. Maybe it’s a robotics team…

  11. Stan Jester

    Agreed. Policy should be generic. I’m OK with them saying magnets (for example Arabia Mountain, etc…). We also need to make sure the policy uses a specific definition for a “magnet”.
    I don’t like all the conditions either, but the policy change request is almost word for word what GHSA says.

  12. Stan, This cases I spoke about were not mid-year transfers but students who were chosen through the lottery in the spring and started in the new year.

  13. Stan Jester

    The proposed policy says a student cannot play for two different schools in the same school year. I’m not familiar with the policy that says a student has to skip a year if they change schools. I’d like to be shown that policy or be looped into the email chain where these students are being told they can’t play.

  14. I think Arabia will keep winning Region championships regardless of this rule change. If you get things going at an Arabia or a Hapeville Charter, you can be tough to stop. All the athletestransfer in. This rule change is likely designed to make things harder for these schools, but it doesn’t change the basic dynamics. The rule will be supported by all the non-magnet schools.

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