The Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees met Monday evening for an extensive workshop to discuss students in advanced classes with failing grades who participate in extracurricular activities. The board also heard an update on student behavior at varsity football games.

Shelle Blaylock, Assistant Superintendent of Leadership and Academics, presented information solicited from district employees about no-pass, no-play grades for advanced courses.

According to the WISD board book found online, the most recent practice was established over four years ago and required a minimum grade of 60 in an advanced course but only applies to junior high students. There is no minimum grade requirement for high school students in advanced classes. 

A comparison with other districts was provided to the trustees, which showed 12 that carry out the same policy, such as Midlothian, Red Oak, Cedar Hill, Coppell and Denton.

“As of the second passing period, we had 190 students that had a grade below a 70," Blaylock said. "Of those courses...76 student classes — not students, but their classes— 33 percent of the 227 [total number of advanced classes] were at a 60 or below. Sixteen percent were below a 55, which seems to be a significant debate.”

Documents provided by the board book detailed where various teachers stood with the no-pass, no-play exempt courses. Waxahachie Global principal Ken Lynch shared the minimum grade should be a 60. WISD Athletic Director Greg Reed, Charmers director Erica Wilcox and choir director Jeremiah Ippert agreed with that grade as well.

Megan Mills, who is the Waxahachie High lead librarian and also serves as the UIL academic coordinator, agreed with a grade of 60, but would also support lowering the threshold to 55.

Waxahachie High principal Adan Casas recommended the minimum grade be 55 to compensate those who could not establish a particular grade. Career and Technical Director Mark Bosher also suggested a 55.

Theater director Andy Reynolds recommended a minimum grade of 50.

Richard Armstrong, director of bands, recommended WISD maintain the current policy.

Blaylock recommended the board vote on a solidified policy by February or March.

CHEER RESPONSIBLY

Mike Morgan, WISD Director of Student and Campus Services, presented potential changes that could ensure security at varsity football games and better control student behavior.

“These kids are all over the place during the game and are in and out of the gates, and don’t have their IDs even though they are supposed to,” Morgan explained. “And that’s what we are trying to do is hold them accountable for their actions and make the total climate better at the game.”

Morgan recommended all secondary students must enter the stadium through a newly designated student line and present proper identification. Also, all secondary students must sit in the junior high or high school section unless accompanied by a parent.

It was suggested that if any secondary student is removed from the game for behavior issues, the administrator on duty would seize the ID of the student and notify proper personnel. That student would receive disciplinary action, which will include loss of privilege to attend extracurricular activities for a set amount of time.

Morgan recommended the gates to remain closed until the last five minutes of the game. Lastly, Morgan suggested that all elementary students must be accompanied by an adult at the game.

Several trustees supported the changes and suggested they be publicized immediately. Board president Dusty Autrey also suggested all WISD students wear their ID badges at every athletic event.

“We aren’t trying to ruin the experience we just want to hold them accountable, detect who they are and where they belong to so if there is a problem, we can address it,” Morgan concluded.

Correction: The article — "Waxahachie ISD trustees discuss student expectations at football games; 'no-pass, no-play' rules" — that printed on Wednesday about the January Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees workshop misquoted Shelle Blaylock. The quote was corrected to show 109 students, not 190; and 227, not 287.

Correction: This article was corrected to show the most recent minimum grade requirement for advanced academics was related to junior high students. 

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450