School activities based on academic performance

September 30, 2008 4:56:11 PM PDT
The principal at E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville started a new program that bans any student on the weekly "D-F" list from taking part in, including sports.Principal Clinton Robinson knew his "D-F" list was not going to be popular.

Robinson became E.E. Smith's principal after a Raleigh judge threatened to take over the school because of poor academic performance. Robinson started the program with one objective for students.

"Give us the same effort that you give in your extracurricular activities in those classrooms," Robinson said. "And one of the things the 'D- F' list has done, it's gotten the community involved. Parents coming in asking questions, but the biggest key that I see is students taking responsibility for their learning."

The list has impacted everything from football, marching band, even volleyball. But the students are starting to see the principal is serious and classroom performance is starting to turn around.

Kevyn Bryant has learned a lesson the hard way. He's a member of E.E .Smith Marching Machine.

Last week he hit a sour note with his grade in U.S. History and ended up on the principal's "D-F" list.

He wasn't alone. He and about 30 other band members couldn't march Friday during homecoming.

"Most of the bandsmen that were not performing, they said it looked kind of bad because all the gaps that we had in the field showed and everything so it kind of messed the show up," Bryant said.

Twenty-three football players were also on the list --including eight key defensive players.

Kaylum Graham was sidelined with a bad grade and watched his team lose the homecoming game.

"I seen my boys out there loosing, it was like, it was real tough," Graham said. "So, I just buckle down and do my work."

The "D-F" list has been controversial, but seems to be working.

Each week fewer students are on it, even though the football team hasn't won a game all season.

"As a parent, I would rather my child have straight 'A's and have a winless season than have an undefeated season and be unsuccessful in the classroom," Robinson said.

All schools have academic standards in order to be able to take part in extracurricular activities. But those are measured semester to semester.

The "D-F" list at E.E. Smith is measured week to week and that's put added pressure on students to perform in the classroom if they want to play on the court or field.


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