BRAINERD – Administrators at Brainerd School have a plan to allow middle school students from other schools to participate in activities.
School board members on Monday (August 8) approved model opt-out and college attendance agreements, which would allow fifth- through eighth-grade students from other schools to participate in Brainerd activities without breaking the rules. of the Minnesota State High School League.
The new agreements come after Superintendent Heidi Hahn sent a letter to families in July explaining that students who are not enrolled in Brainerd public schools will no longer be able to participate in state high school league activities in Brainerd at unless a formal agreement is in place.
After public criticism of the decision, Hahn clarified that the change was due to state high school league eligibility guidelines and not financial constraints or a desire to entice students into enrolling in the state. district. State high school league regulations require students who are not enrolled in the district — except in the case of home schooling — to be covered by a cooperative agreement with the district in order to be eligible. to activities.
Although this regulation is not new, Hahn said that Brainerd had become comfortable with informal agreements, but now had to do a better job of complying with league regulations to ensure the eligibility of players. attendees. Through conversations with high school league officials, she said, the district learned it was at risk of violating the rulebook. Entire teams could be at risk if there is an eligibility issue with a student.
The policy change does not affect any of the cooperative agreements Brainerd already has in place with other districts, nor does it affect homeschooled students who live in the district.
Hahn also shed some light Monday on how the state defines homeschooling. The state definition requires the school to have five or fewer students to qualify as a homeschool. But when asked about families who have more than five children, Hahn said they would still qualify as homeschooled.
With high schools still allowed to approach Brainerd to make cooperative agreements for activities, Hahn said the students most affected by the change are those in middle school. The two agreements approved on Monday will target these students.
A non-continuation of attendance agreement is for schools — like St. Francis of the Lakes — that don’t have a secondary component. Under state high school league regulations, a seventh, eighth, or ninth grader attending a school under a separate administrative head and board of trustees that does not have a continuation high school and where no other opportunity to participate on a high school team does not exist, is eligible to participate for a high school team provided the high school and non-continuing school have established a joint agreement for participation in each league activity.
The College Participation Agreement defines the terms and conditions of participation between two schools for college activities only.
“The applying school can choose the agreement that they feel best suits their needs for their middle school students,” Hahn said. “And then we will review them, we will put them in place. The school board clerk will sign this agreement to ensure it is done with the board’s review, then we will have this agreement filed in the Activities Office for any Minnesota State High School League inquiries, and we will review these agreements annually.”
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