Oak Creek athletes could swap out gym course

Proposal would allow students an extra class in core subject area

Feb. 26, 2013

Oak Creek - Student-athletes could soon be able to use their competitive experiences to fulfill part of the physical fitness graduation requirement, freeing up for an extra core academic course.

The School Board on Monday debated the proposal, which would allow students who participate in one of Oak Creek High School's WIAA-recognized sports teams to swap a half-credit of gym with a half-credit of social studies, English, math or health education.

Suggested eligibility requirements specify that a student must compete for a full season to take advantage of the swap.

But the standards would exclude members of the poms and cheerleading teams from eligibility, as their sports aren't WIAA-recognized. Some board members didn't think that was quite fair.

"They are practicing and working hard every day," board member Sheryl Cerniglia said. "Their season is even longer than a school year."

Others worried athletes injured mid-season would lose out on the opportunity to swap a class.

"I can see the athletes, say they go to the end of the year and get hurt at the last game," School Board member Paul Mason said.

Superintendent Sara Burmeister said the recommendation to limit the offering to athletes in WIAA-recognized sports, competing for full seasons, is convenience: Keeping clear-cut and easy to determine eligibility requirements will prevent lengthy debates and arguments in the future.

While Burmeister said she recognizes the hard work the cheer team puts in, she supported the tighter definition due to its straight-forward nature. As for injured players, she explained that the student need only complete one full season in their high school careers, which she argued, they would either have previously completed or could complete in a later year.

"This really gives a student-athlete the opportunity to take something other than gym for their development, growth and academic standing," School Board President Frank Carini said, supporting the proposal.

Next Step

WHAT: School Board vote on allowing student-athletes to swap a half-credit of gym for an extra half-credit of social studies, English, math or health education

WHEN: 6 p.m. March 11

WHERE: district administration building, 7630 S. 10th St., Oak Creek

Graduation requirements

Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District high school students must earn 23 credits in order to graduate.

English, 4 credits

Social studies, 3

Science, 2

Math, 3

Physical education, 1.5

Health, 0.5

electives, 9

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