• ACTIVITY FEE Q&A

    During the district's recent athletic survey, we noted that there were many questions and misconceptions regarding the activity fee that is charged after a student-athlete makes one of our 20 athletic teams.  I am providing a "frequently asked questions" page based upon the most commonly noted questions from the results of the 3 surveys administered in the 2017-2018 school year.  

    The fees for activities will help offset the expenses of our extracurricular programs, not only athletics but drama, band, etc.  They contribute to the costs of items such as:

    • Coaches’ salaries
    • Transportation
    • Equipment
    • Insurance
    • Facility usage

    Does paying the activity fee guarantee any playing time?

    Unfortunately, it does not.  All team members benefit from the above listed assets of a program, not just those who play in games.  

    Does the district consider the burden of cost for families with several siblings and those students that play multiple sports/activities?

    Absolutely.  There is an actual cap on fees that can be paid by a single family that also considers the number of activities in which siblings participate.  The individual cap is $285.00 and the family cap is $750.00.

    How does the District handle hardship cases?

    In the case of financial hardship, the Principal or Director of Athletics has the ability to waive an activity fee.

    What happens if a student moves or quits a team?  Are refunds issues?

    The District's policy does not permit refunds in the case of a student moving, quitting, sustaining an injury or being dismissed from a team.  

     

    A message to all parents from the PIAA

     Dear Mom and Dad: Cool it

     By Dr. Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Dr. Robert Lombardi, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

     If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete here in Pennsylvania, this message is primarily for you. When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it. Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Pennsylvania has an alarming shortage of high school officials. It’s true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse. Plus, there’s a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren’t enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of licensed high school officials is severe enough in some areas that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled—especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels. Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitates the physical and emotional development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren’t enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an “L” on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community’s future. If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become a licensed official at HighSchoolOfficials.com. Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events here in Pennsylvania are always welcome. We request you to please share the following OP-ED piece with your parents and spectators. The Op-Ed piece has also been shared to various media outlets.

     

    9 Lessons From an Old School Dad

    I remember the conversation like it was yesterday.

    I was a sophomore in high school, and I was mad. I was offended. I was aggrieved.

    I had been benched.

    When I got home from school, I wanted someone to tell me how I was right and that the coach was wrong. I wanted someone to tell me that I was great, that my teammates who had replaced me were not. I wanted someone to validate my feelings.

    My dad was an old school guy, born and raised in the Bronx. He was forced to retire from his dream job — the New York City Fire Department — after injuring his back during a fire. Life had been good to him and tough to him, and he certainly wasn’t intending to make it easy on me.

    His goal wasn’t to make me feel better that day. His goal was to make me be better.

    “John,” he said, “regardless of whether you think your coach is right or wrong, regardless of whether you think you are better or worse than your teammates, that is really all beside the point.

    “The question you have to ask yourself is: ‘Have I done everything in my control to earn a starting spot?’”

    I thought about it. “Yes, I’m better than those guys.”

    “That is not what I am talking about,” he said. “That’s one man’s opinion. Here are some things that are not. Do you show up early and do extra work? Do you stay after and work on your game, or even run laps and improve your fitness? Do you pick up the cones when training is done? Have you gotten up before school yet this season to do extra work on the track, or against the kick back wall?”

    “No,” I answered, not liking where this was heading.

    “Well, until you have done anything and everything you can do to show your coach and teammates beyond any doubt who deserves to be out there, you have nothing to complain about. I suggest you get back to work and leave your coach no choice but to put you in, because right now he clearly has a choice.”

    Conversation terminated.

    This was a defining moment for me as an athlete.

    As a parent, I worry about my kids and how they will react to adversity. I get anxious when they encounter difficulty, when they are pushed extremely hard and when they want to give up. I get frustrated when they struggle. I don’t like to see them fail, because deep down, every time they fail it feels like a part of me is failing, and that doesn’t sit very well with me.

    Yes, I want to intervene. I want to help them feel better, just like I wanted to feel better.

    And then I catch myself. I think what would my dad say?

    Here are nine lessons my dad taught me in sports that have carried me through life:

    • Be coachable. Be a great listener, pay attention and do what the coach tells you, even when you see others doing the opposite and being rewarded for it
    • If you are going to do something, do it right. Make a commitment and fulfill it. Do more than is asked, not simply the bare minimum required for participation. You can go fishing, go to that party and go skiing when your commitment is done, but until then you owe it to your teammates to be all in.
    • Be honest. When someone asks your opinion, tell the truth. It is not always easy, and it is not always fun, but one day you will have a reputation as a person who others can go to when they need a hard, honest truth, not just someone who makes you feel better. The former is a true friend, and the other is just a fan. Be a friend.
    • Shake hands, look people in the eye, and say, “thank you.” This demonstrates respect to coaches, officials and other people who have taken the time and effort to make your game, and your sport, possible.
    • Be patient. Being really good at anything is a marathon. Some people may grow before you, and thus be bigger, faster and taller than you, but so what? That will all eventually even out, and then what? Will you be a better player, or someone who gave up because life didn’t hand you all the breaks right away?
    • Embrace both failure and success. You want to do your best to win, but what matters more than the scoreboard is how you learned and developed. Don’t ignore mistakes because you won, and don’t dwell on them because you lost. Everyone makes mistakes, so you might as well make them trying to make a play, instead of trying not to make mistakes.
    • Don’t slouch and pout. Your body language and your attitude matter. They affect how coaches, teammates and others perceive you, and if you are going to be a leader, no one really cares how you are feeling right now. Suck it up and be positive.
    • Don’t hold a grudge. My dad coached high school soccer in various capacities for 17 years, and then was unceremoniously fired one season after a few parental complaints. I say unceremoniously because most years he donated his coaching salary to the school scholarship fund to help needy athletes. He bought equipment when the school had no budget. He ran extra training in the offseason at no charge to players or families. It broke his heart when he was let go, and yet the next year he once again donated to the school scholarship fund. I asked him why. “They do a lot of good for so many kids,” he said. “It’s not those kids’ fault, and they should not be the ones who suffer.”
    • Be humble. Whether you win or lose, be humble. It’s just a game, and today was your day. Tomorrow might be theirs. Respect the officials, coaches and your opponents, because chances are you will see them again someday beyond the sports field, and what you do on it will affect how they think of you.

    Mark Twain once said: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

    My dad is 81 this year, and he sure has learned a lot.

    This article originally appeared on ChangingTheGameProject.com

    John O'Sullivan is the founder of the Changing the Game Project and author of the bestseller “Changing The Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids.”

    Thinking about playing at the next level?

    NCAA guidelines/regulations, contacting college coaches and the whole recruiting trail can be a very intimidating process. Don't worry, we are here to help. Call or stop by the Athletic Office at the High School and set up a time to discuss this with our Athletic Director. The best time is during freshman or sophomore year.  
      
    Twitter Troubles..."think before you post!"
    Three years ago, Scott Fitch couldn’t believe what he was hearing. A college coach recruiting two of his Fairport High School boys basketball players called to say how much he liked what he saw after watching them play an AAU game, and that he thought both were good enough to see court time on his team as freshmen.

    “But we’re going to stop recruiting one of them,” the college coach said.

    Stunned, Fitch asked why.

    “We found his Twitter account, looked through it and some of what we saw isn’t representative of what our university is about,” the recruiter explained.

    With seemingly every teenager active these days on social media, that type of conversation happens now more often than you might think. It led Fitch to find out more so that the 43-year-old could teach his players and fellow coaches at Fairport what’s appropriate and inappropriate for high school students to post on Facebook, Instagram and, most prominently now, Twitter. Since then, he has done more than 40 presentations at area schools with students, coaches, faculty and parents.

    Fitch also has presented “Pause Before You Post,” at a Section V Sportsmanship Summit and to administrators on the state level.

    “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship,” Brandon Chambers, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Marymount (Virginia) University, tweeted on Aug. 25.

    On some recruiting forms, colleges ask for a student’s social media screen names or addresses.

    More schools are using Twitter to give their athletes recognition, in-game updates or final scores. But any individual student can stir up trouble with a single comment, picture or online conversation, and that extends well beyond just an elite athlete trying to get a scholarship. Teens complaining about playing time, bickering with a teammate or trash-talking an opponent have forced coaches to be more vigilant about their players’ online activity. It’s not as frequent as preparing a plan for the next practice or game, but it’s something coaches simply can’t ignore.

    “It’s here to stay and we either get up with the times and figure out how to get through it or we’ll be sorry,” said veteran Rush-Henrietta football coach Joe Montesano, who’ll occasionally tweet inspirational sayings or messages for his players to see. “I think it’s part of the education process as a teacher and coach. We try to model for them, try to teach them how to do it the right way.”

    The wrong way can happen as soon as a student-athlete hits “Send.”

    “It’s instant and it’s public and some kids don’t realize that,” said Gates Chili athletic director Ken Hammel, who is Monroe County’s representative on Section V Sportsmanship Committee. “You can start a pretty big disruption with one comment that is tweeted or retweeted and taken the wrong way. It could offend an entire district.”

    Twitter-cool

    Local schools are now starting to include a student’s online activity as part of their code of conduct. In Hilton, for example, it’s covered under the citizenship category for “inappropriate use of technology/media.”

    Why did Twitter supplant Facebook among teens as the place to be online?

    “When Facebook became more popular with adults and when their parents and grandparents got on (Facebook) it shifted for kids,” said Michael Gaio, eMedia editor for Athletic Business. “Facebook no longer was cool.”

    It became the “hangout” your parents knew about and could monitor, so kids found a new, more private (at least from their parents) space. Now Twitter is becoming old hat, so teens are trending toward Instagram, which is posting pictures (no text) that can receive “Likes” or comments. That can be dangerous, too.

    “The big things for kids is to see how many ‘Likes’ they can get so the more outrageous your picture is, the more ‘Likes’ you might get so that’s a potential pitfall,” said Pittsford’s Scott Barker, one of the more active athletic directors statewide on Twitter, providing game updates and pictures of games and his athletes.

    Many parents have Twitter accounts just to spy on their kids’ online activity. Penfield girls soccer coach Libbie Tobin doesn’t worry about that much, but said she “can sense when something is going on,” among her players that might become a problem, so she’ll remind them and say, “Hey, I don’t want to hear about anything on Twitter.”

    Good team captains police their own squads, a couple of students said.

    “If I see someone on our team saying something (on Twitter), I’ll say, ‘Hey, it’s not worth it. Maybe you should take that that down (and delete it).’ Then it’s their choice,” said Hilton girls soccer midfielder Alex DiVasta, a senior captain.

    R-H junior quarterback Jared Gerbino said Montesano reminds his players often to be careful what they post. There has been trash talk at R-H in the past that he’s noticed. “Nothing major, just like ‘We’re going to kick your butt,’ ” he said. Gerbino tries to steer clear of it.

    Last fall, a wide receiver at one Monroe County school tweeted at a defensive back for another saying he was going to have a big night against him. When a girls soccer player for one school rubbed it in with a tweet about the Honeoye Falls-Lima girls losing the state title match, 1-0, an HF-L player reminded that girl that the Cougars had beaten her team in the sectional final.

    Aquinas boys basketball coach Mike Grosodonia takes his players’ phones before each game so they can’t tweet while it’s going on. “I’ve heard of kids going in at halftime and getting on Twitter if they’re crushing a team or something,” he said. No parent has taken issue with that, he said.

    “They’re kids. Sometimes they make mistakes, just like we did,” Grosodonia said.

    But now it’s online and that almost always means it’s instantly public, which can create more problems.

    Turn-off to college

    After that phone call, what Fitch found later that night after scrolling through his players’ Twitter feeds wasn’t anything criminal or drug-related.

    “Classic kid stuff, just not thinking,” Fitch said. “He used some vulgar language. There was some partying stuff.”

    That was enough. In the most competitive age for scholarship money, kids can’t afford to take the chance.

    East Rochester graduate Ron Whitcomb Jr., now in his eighth year as an assistant football coach at Old Dominion University, said he’ll research a recruit’s social media presence before he even makes any contact with the player, which per NCAA rules can’t happen before the start of his junior.

    “You’ve got to dig through all the avenues you can,” said Whitcomb, 30, who is ODU’s recruiting coordinator.

    He’ll check for a Facebook profile, Twitter and now Instagram — all tools he may later use to keep in touch with the player. Recently, ODU stopped recruiting a quarterback because it didn’t like what it found on his Facebook profile. There was vulgar language, some pictures with the player posing with his tongue out. “He looked like Miley Cyrus,” Whitcomb said. “That can’t be the face of your team (as a QB).”

    Another “turn-off,” Whitcomb said, was finding a player posted too often for ODU’s taste. “Sixteen posts a day? He was on social media too much,” he said. “Is he spending enough time on important stuff?”

    Anything that’s racially insensitive or sexist is also a red flag, he said. Old Dominion, he said, is probably one of about 10 college football teams that doesn’t allow its players to post on Twitter.

    Whitcomb doesn’t want to come off as “holier than thou,” he said, but he wants teens to know these are factors recruiters watch when evaluating a player’s character. In late July, Penn State stopped recruiting a player because of social media. “Actually glad I got to see the ‘real’ person before offered him,” tweeted offensive line coach Herb Hand, a native of Westmoreland, near Utica.

    Hand later elaborated to an online publication, 247sports.com, saying: “If a guy makes the decision to post or (retweet) stuff that degrades women, references drug use or cyber-bullying crap, then I can make the decision to drop them, especially if I have discussed it with them prior, and especially in today’s climate of athletics.”

    Dos and don’ts

    Excerpts from Michael Gaio’s blog on social media dos and don’ts for student-athletes

    Nothing is truly private … ever. While many kids think they can delete a tweet or delete their Facebook profile if need be, many don’t realize that content posted on the Internet can last forever. Content can be captured in screenshots or saved by other users.

    If you retweet it (or share it), you own it. “Freedom of speech does not equal freedom from consequences,” says David Petroff, director of athletic communications at Edgewood (Wis.) College.

    Personal branding. Every tweet reflects who you are. How are student-athletes choosing to represent themselves?

    Say thank you. Teach student-athletes to take time to thank those who support them. Fans, teammates and family, for example.

    Support others. Student-athletes can provide a positive example for other students by sending positive messages about their peers in other sports or activities at school.

    “SAT or ACT… Which is better for me?”

    Standardized tests are a crucial component of the application process for any student, and they are even more important for student-athletes who want to continue playing at the college level. While both SAT and ACT are universally accepted by colleges, students may find that they prefer one exam to the other.

    What type of student should take which exam?

    Understanding the construction of each test is essential for making this decision.

    The ACT test focuses more on high school content knowledge, as well as testing a students’ ability to finish tasks quickly. The ACT covers a wider range of material than the SAT does, but the questions are almost always presented in a more straightforward, predictable manner. As a result, thorough practice almost always leads to improvement.

    The ACT may be a better test for you if:

    • you’ve taken difficult classes and gotten good grades
    • you are able to read passages and decide on answers quickly
    • you tend to freeze up when confronted with unfamiliar questions or experience test anxiety when unsure how to solve problems
    • you are diligent and willing to do a lot of practice work
    • you have a good memory for formulae and grammar rules
    • you are comfortable with visual information like charts and graphs


    The SAT emphasizes problem solving and reasoning ability more than content. Essentially, it presents students with unfamiliar problems and tests how well they can figure out which answer works best. The pacing of the SAT is also slower, so students who have difficulty finishing sections on time will likely have a better time with the SAT than with the faster-paced ACT.

    The SAT may be a better test for you if:

    • you are comfortable using answers to solve problems rather than figuring out the solution using only the information provided
    • you have a strong vocabulary
    • you have trouble finishing timed tests
    • you struggle with high-level math and science material, especially if you haven’t completed Algebra 2 yet


    No matter which test appears to suit your learning and thinking styles, there’s no substitute for practice testing. Take a practice SAT and ACT and compare the scores. If they are close, go with the test you feel more comfortable with, but if one test is clearly better, focus your attention on it.


    How can students improve on individual sections of each exam?

    ACT— improving your score is all about practice, practice, practice (and EVEN MORE practice!!). On English and Math, take practice sections, identify what types of questions you are missing, brush up on that content, and repeat. The more you practice, the more questions you’ll see and immediately know how to do. On Reading and Science, learn the types of passages the test presents and practice the ones that give you the most trouble.

    SAT— improving your score depends less on the number of questions you do for practice than it does on what adjustments you make after learning what you tend to miss. You should practice generally applicable strategies (plugging in answers and making examples in math, process of elimination and predicting which words could fill a blank on reading) rather than focusing on “learning” problem types. While reading broadly and regularly from newspapers and novels is usually the best preparation for the reading section, studying vocabulary can be an alternative for those who want to do more targeted work in the time they have available. Learn new vocab in small doses, but start studying new words ASAP and continue until you take the SAT.

    Most importantly, all students should aim to take practice tests early on in high school. For recruiting purposes, the earlier the student-athlete has a score, the earlier he or she can plan ahead and formulate a better understanding of target colleges and universities. Early scores also allow college coaches to understand how student-athletes will be viewed by the admissions office, influencing their recruiting decisions. From an academic perspective, an earlier understanding of each standardized exam leaves more time to build on individual strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of which exam you choose, utilize all the resources available to you to maximize your score and gain admission into the universities of your choice.

    This is from the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports…a terrific read.

     Top 10 Parenting Do’s

    10.  Reinforce with your child to be a good sport. For example, emphasize shaking hands after games no matter how bitter the contest, and never belittling someone to make yourself feel better.

    9.  Limit your conversations about sport. Let them know you are interested, but also interested in all aspects of their lives!

    8.  Have realistic expectations for your child’s success in sport. Try to be objective when your child is not receiving playing time or starting; or they struggle with their performances. They are not mini-adults; they are maturing young people who make many mistakes as well as doing many great things (sometimes in the same day!).

    7.  Support the coach and don’t try to coach your child! Especially from the stands during a game. Coaching your child, unless you are a part of the coaching staff, makes it very easy to confuse and frustrate the child. It can undermine the coach and destroy coach-athlete trust.

    6.  Keep it fun. Try not to take sport too seriously. You will ruin it for your child and they will feel pressure if you are too critical, controlling, or overbearing. Keep it light!

    5.  Push to follow through on commitments, work hard, and be a good person. This is the time to challenge your child – when they want to take a short cut that does not show commitment to the team or the coach. Pushing, however, to win is not healthy and will only create issues between you and your child.

    4.  Have them play for their reasons, not yours. Keep in mind that your child wants to be independent from you in some ways, and yet have your support. For certain, in sport let their goals drive the level of involvement. This will lead to less frustration and arguments.

    3.  Remain calm and composed during games. Avoid yelling at officials. High school athletes find it very frustrating and embarrassing when parents yell at officials, or lose their composure in the stands. There is enough pressure on these kids to perform as it is. Your added pressure from reacting to mistakes they make, being critical and negative, and just too emotional create unneeded stress and take away from the fun of the game.

    2.  Support, support, support! Support your child in many different ways. Listen to them when they need to be heard after a tough game or practice. Challenge them when they are exhibiting a bad attitude. Confirm what they are going through is normal in sport. Be empathetic. Never make them feel guilty about “your sacrifices” for them to play. There are some many more ways to support than just paying for them to play, transporting them, or giving them tactical advice.

    1.  Make your love and support unconditional and never contingent on performance. The biggest issues between parents and their children often come when the parent makes the child feel like their encouragement and love is contingent on their performances. No matter how your son or daughter plays be encouraging, give them a hug, let them know you love them even if they go 0 for 5, have five big turnovers, or take bad penalties. The coach will get on them about their execution; the parent needs to play his or her role and support.

     

    Top 10 Parenting Don’ts

    10.  Focus the majority of conversations on the sport. If your conversations with your child are dominated by their sport then they will recognize how important it is to you, even if you say it isn’t. This creates pressure.

    9.  Tell your child their opponent is not good and they should beat them. Again, this sets up an expectation that you cannot fail. What happens when they get behind? The pressure heats up! Focus on effort, good decision making with tactics, improvement, fun, and being a good sport. Have them him focus on his own game!

    8.  Coach your child from the sidelines. As much as you may know about the game allow the coach to do their job. Your coaching, unless well-choreographed and based on what the coaching is saying, will only serve to confuse and frustrate your child. They will have a hard time trusting what the coach is telling them to do.

    7.  Criticize your child or even give your analysis after the game. Allow your child some space to get over the game, calm down, and enjoy the time with their team and reflecting on their performance. You want your child to learn lessons from sport, right? Well they will learn faster if you allow them to deal with it and then facilitate th eir ability to learn from the game and move on by asking questions and listening. Furthermore, your child knows when they have made a mistake. If not, the coach will instruct them – there is no need to pile on!

    6.  Treat your child differently dependent upon whether he or she won or lost (or how they performed). What message are we sending when after a win we go get ice cream and after a loss we go directly home? That when you lose you don’t deserve a treat – again, cranking up the importance and the pressure unintentionally. Be careful how you respond to your child after a game. Follow your post-game plans if possible. Maybe the dinner won’t be as happy after a bad performance, but you will be exhibiting to your child that their treatment and your support are not contingent upon their performance. Also, you will be teaching a good lesson about emotional control, learning to lose with class, and moving on from tough performances.

    5.  Allow sport to dominate your child’s life. Why? It is good to have great passion and pursue lofty goals. No doubt. At the same time, you want your child to learn balance in life. They will someday have to juggle being a father/mother, husband/wife, employee, boss, etc. More immediately, it is healthy for your child to consider themselves more than athletes. They should see themselves as a good student, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a friend… and treat these roles with the importance they deserve. Moreover, having other pursuits will allow them to deal with the frustrations of sport, especially when they can no longer play the sport that they love competitively.

    4.  Control all decision making relating to sport. Teenagers want to have some say in their lives. They are looking to take more control. As a sport parent you want to allow your child to make decisions about his or her commitment to playing sports including the routines they need to follow to prepare for games as well as take care of homework and studying. If you control everything they will resent you for it.

    3.  Consider your child’s sport an investment for which you should receive something in return. With pay-to-play high school sport becoming ever more commonplace it is easy to fall into this trap. Parents make an investment in time, money, transportation as well as emotional investment. However, do your best to not make your child feel like they need to perform because of your investment. Let them know that you will happily do all of these things no matter how they perform.

    2.  Exert pressure to win. This is a no-brainer. When you, the parent, pressure to win you are creating an expectation that your child does not have complete control over. This expectation creates stress and negative emotion for the child. Again, focus on effort, sportsmanship, and things they can control. Then they can feel like a success in your eyes. Ultimately, that’s what every child longs for.

    1.  Put your interests ahead of your child’s interests. If your child is playing high school or middle school sport, be supportive. Go to games and encourage them. Listen to them discuss their triumphs and frustrations. And, always and always let them play for their own reasons not yours. Maybe you were an intense, driven athlete and maybe your child is not, and instead is happy with being a role player and spending time with his friends. It’s his life let him live it. There is a fine line here. You want to teach your child to commit to a goal and pursue it with hard work and dedication. However, if your child has not shown the intense interest in a sport and has not for some time, save yourself and your child the pain. Instead, push on striving academically – in a positive way, of course.

     

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