MCPS Expected To Review Extracurricular Eligibility Guidelines

MCPS Expected To Review Extracurricular Eligibility Guidelines

Potential changes would take effect for 2020-2021 school year

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The Montgomery County Board of Education met Thursday in Rockville.

Caitlynn Peetz

The Montgomery County Board of Education expects to launch a review of its policy that determines what makes students ineligible for extracurricular activities.

In a resolution introduced at a recent school board meeting, the board directed its policy management subcommittee and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) staff to benchmark its requirements with neighboring districts and present recommended changes during the 2019-2020 school year.

Board Vice President Pat O’Neill, who introduced the resolution, said any potential changes would take effect for the 2020-2021 school year, and the goal of the review is to find the appropriate balance between school work and extracurriculars, such as sports or music groups.

The current policy says middle and high school students must maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher and have no more than one failing grade in the previous grading period to participate in extracurricular activities. The policy was last amended in 2011.

“Grades are never intended to be a punishment or a reward,” O’Neill said. “If a student is more engaged in school life, there’s a higher probability they’ll do better in class. But if there’s nothing a student can be engaged in outside of class, do they just give up and say, ‘What’s the point?’ ”

More than 7,500 students – 16% of the MCPS student population – participated in athletics in 2017, according to school system data. It was unclear how many students are ineligible for extracurriculars on average.

The school board will vote on the resolution at its July 29 meeting.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at

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