ROCKINGHAM — Even as the NCAA’s academic requirements for prospective student-athletes is set to increase, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association is prepared to keep its standards the same.
While the NCHSAA is setting a minimum for its student-athletes to achieve, it does allow local school boards to toughen those requirements. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools requires a 2.0 GPA for its student-athletes and Wake County has a 1.5 GPA standard.
Several members of the Richmond County Board of Education are interested in examining the pros and cons of instituting a minimum GPA here or at least trying to raise academics standards.
As much as administrators, teachers and coaches try to reach out to their students (not just student-athletes) and talk about the importance of attaining good grades, the key players in raising the academic bar are the parents.
Robert David said he is constantly checking in with teachers to get a report on his son’s progress. Last year, David’s son, Robert Jr., attended the Ninth Grade Academy.
“All the teachers have my phone number and my email to let me know if he isn’t doing what he is supposed to do,” David said.
Because just about everything in today’s world revolves around the Internet, David mentioned a tool all parents should utilize to keep tabs on their child’s school work.
“It’s called PowerSchool,” he said. “The parent has to go into the school and get a log-in and password. It is great.”
According to the program’s quick reference sheet, PowerSchool Parent Portal allows parents access to real-time information on a student’s attendance, grades and assignment information.
Mitch Hadinger, a teacher and athletic trainer at Richmond Senior, also believes using PowerSchool is a great way for parents and teachers to interact.
“There has to be a team approach to it,” Hadinger said. “PowerSchool gives a parent full access to their kids’ information, but it is still a work in progress for us to see all that it can do.”
In addition to being a juvenile parole officer, David is also involved with Huge In Spirit, a group of volunteers that assist area youth with improving their athletic performances as well as their effort in the classroom. David, Chavis Everett and Shawn Everett Sr. check on their pupils’ grades with the permission of the parents.
Arlinda Billingsley sends her son, Anthony, to the Huge In Spirit workouts. Billingsley said she is happy to have the trio not only working on her son’s ability on the football and baseball fields, but making sure he is doing right academically as well.
“They check on him and make sure he is doing what he is needing to do,” Billingsley said. “They volunteer their time because they care.”
Billingsley added her academic standards for her son go beyond what the NCHSAA and county require.
“That’s not acceptable, if you know they are capable of Bs, why would you accept Ds?” she said. “Anthony knows he can’t stray or he isn’t going to get to play, Momma and Daddy are together on that. And I will be utilizing PowerSchool now too.”
Editor’s note: This is the final part of a series on academics and athletics.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 or on Twitter @scgolfer.