District is reviewing Athletic Placement Policy (APP)
It is widely recognized that learning doesn’t happen only during regular school hours and in classrooms. Learning takes place in clubs, on fields, courts and continues after school. Extracurricular activities provide a variety of benefits, including opportunities for personal growth and the development of life, leadership and social skills. The importance of these activities cannot be overlooked, which is why the Arkport Central School District is committed to offering a range of age-appropriate extracurricular activities to engage as many students as possible. The district recently added new choices for student participation, such as the Clay Target Club and Kids in the Kitchen, while continuing to offer long-standing options, namely athletics.
Background of the NYSED Athletic Placement Policy
An important aspect of students participating in athletics is the Athletic Placement Policy (APP). In 2015, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) published a guide for school districts interested in adopting an APP process. As outlined by NYSED, the APP allows students to play up or down a level based on skill and development. While NYSED permits districts to customize their policies to best suit their needs, all adopted APPs have one element in common; they are “...aimed at the few, select students who can benefit from such placement because of their level of readiness.”
Arkport’s Athletic Placement Policy
Just as teachers, families and the district seeks to challenge Arkport students in the classroom with established standards for advanced classes, the APP serves as the means to determine if a student-athlete is ready for a different level of play. Not every student is suited for advanced classes; similarly not every student-athlete is ready for a higher level of athletic competition.
The Arkport APP process timeline illustrates how the policy has evolved since its adoption and the events that have affected those changes. Revised in 2017, Arkport’s APP process closely mirrors the NYSED-issued guide. Revisions to the policy have been made over time to better serve Arkport students.
Recently several student-athletes have entered into the APP process to determine if they are ready to move to the junior varsity level without playing a year at the modified level. Without knowing the historical context of changes to the APP process, Arkport families may not be aware that the major barrier to seventh grade student-athletes moving up a level is policy language that was adopted by the district more than a decade ago. In approximately 2011, the Arkport school district adopted the following language to the athletic handbook (this language can now be found in the A-C athletics handbook): “seventh grade students will be expected to play one season at the modified level, except in exceptional cases to be decided on by the athletic director and superintendent(s).”
APP review process underway
In January 2023, the Arkport board of education formed a subcommittee to review the APP process and suggest possible edits. According to the timeline, the next step in the process is to review the APP with administration from the Canaseraga Central School District. Most importantly, there will be a public comment period where all A-C athletic stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the current process and possible changes. Thoroughly gathering feedback from all stakeholders may take longer than is preferred, however the district wants to reassure all involved we will listen and consider all input. We are fully committed to a collaborative approach that will result in a refined and improved A-C athletics APP process.