Low test scores sparks "No Pass, No Play" policy

By Amanda Hanson - bio | email feedback

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - After research showed nearly 160 high school students failed to maintain a 65-percent average in at least one class, the Newport School District decided a change was needed!

"There's a new business in town that started august 16th, and it's called greyhound manufacturer.  We manufacture quality greyhounds," says Superintendent Larry Bennett, and it all starts with quality education.

"We have got to work on getting our school out of school improvement, kids making better grades, and all kids being prepared for whatever they want to do at the next level," says Bennett, which rang in the "No Pass, No Play" policy this past July.  Students must maintain at least a 65 average in every class to be able to participate in any extracurricular activities, whether it is football or band.  So far, the impact has been huge.

"We're seeing more kids come to tutoring.  For instance, we had 31 kids out for football, and the first time we implemented the policy 11 of them didn't get to play.  Now, we're down to 1 or 2 kids,"

Bennett is also looking into an expanded vocational program for students not planning on attending college, to provide training for future opportunities.  "If we could get them focused on what they want to do after they get out of high school.  Then we can track them into an apprenticeship program, or some kind of technical program."

He says it's all about motivating students.  "We need to provide a pathway for students so they can get to the point where they can move into a successful career.  It would make it so they can have a choice.  Right now, I feel like our kids are leaving here without a lot of choice."

Bennett says in order to get out of school improvement, they have to raise the bar, and plans on raising the "No Pass, No Play" policy average to 70 within the next two years.

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