Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 13, 2013

Home schoolers can play on Fairfield teams

By BRIDGET FRYMAN
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— BENTON — Students who are home-schooled will now be allowed to play on Fairfield athletic teams, according to an application process approved by the school board Thursday.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association proposed a set of guidelines, which Fairfield administrators then made more stringent, Athletic Director Mark Hofer said.

Students will have to reside in the district where they want to play, as well as pass a physical, prove that he or she is passing the minimum number of courses and be home-schooled for the previous three consecutive years, all of which were criteria set by the IHSAA.

Students must also complete all statewide exams, which would include ISTEPs and the Graduating Qualifying Exam. Because of that, Fairfield added that students will need to take those courses on the subjects in which they will be tested, including math and language arts, Biology I, English 10 and Algebra I.

The same ISTEP accountability course requirements will also be extended to home-school students who enroll at Fairfield for any course, including choir or band, Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said. If a student is enrolled for one course, he or she is required to take ISTEP. Since the corporation is held accountable if that student does not pass, administrators want to be sure that the home-school students are as prepared as their public school counterparts.

Hofer said he has received a few casual inquiries about home-school students playing sports. The application and requirements will be available through the corporation’s website, he said.

In other business, the board also approved the hiring of Nicholas Jones as the new administrative assistant to the principal at Fairfield Junior-Senior High School.

Jones will fill the third “administrative” role left vacant with the promotion of Amy Bertram to principal. He does not have an administrator’s license, but when the position was created in June, Thalheimer told board members it would be ideal for a teacher who does not have a principal’s license but may be considering that path.

Jones will be in charge of attendance and discipline, and will not be evaluating teachers.  He will be paid under a teacher’s contract plus 20 days.