The Havre Public Schools Board of Trustee’s meeting was unusually technology focused Tuesday, including the recent use of the district’s computer systems in determining whether students are eligible for extracurricular activities.
Havre High School’s Interim Principal Dennis Murphy spoke about changes to the eligibility policy that were tried out last year before becoming official policy this year.
Under the new system, the activities department at the school checks on a student’s progress every Monday through the district’s computers and notifies affected students and coaches of their ineligibility and why they are ineligible.
The students then can go to the teachers to talk about what they are not doing or have not done and what progress they can make to become eligible again that week.
The policy before was for teachers to tell the activities office directly which students would be ineligible each Monday, which would hold true until the following Monday.
Murphy, who used to be activities director before his current position, said the new policy should foster better communication.
“What I’m trying to create is interaction between our students and our teachers, ” Murphy said.
Since fully adopting the policy this year, Murphy said there have been some necessary adjustments, but it is getting better.
“There are some bumps there no doubt. There is a little difference in reporting, but the results are the same: get the job done in the classroom, good things are going to happen, ” Murphy said. “I think it’s more positive for our kids because they’re going to talk to their teachers. Some of these kids don’t even know why they’re ineligible. ”
During Tuesday night’s discussion, trustee Norm Proctor seemed to have some reservations about the idea, that it might be too subjective, particularly the idea of teachers creating the standards of progress necessary to be eligible.
“The part that bothered me a little was that the improvement part was left up to the teacher; that’s subjective, ” Proctor said this morning. “It gives the teacher more authority and leeway, but it puts more on them. ”
He said he wished the policy outlined an objective standard that teachers could use to support their decisions. Now, Proctor anticipates, one teacher might declare a student eligible while another doesn’t, blocking eligibility, pitting the student against that one nay-saying teacher.
At the meeting Murphy said the policy currently affects about 30 or 40 students right now, and those students change from week to week.