Dear Members of the Croton-Harmon Community: Over the last few weeks there has been a great deal of dialogue surrounding the Croton-Harmon basketball program, Board of Education policy surrounding “playing up,” and coaching appointments. We felt that this was a good opportunity for the community to hear from us. As athletic director (Thomas Cunningham) and varsity boys basketball coach (Bill Thom), we feel that we are in the best position to address some of the community comments that we have heard.
Board of Education Policy 5281 clearly states, “Seventh and eighth grade students may be considered for “playing up” in any sport, subject to the rules of the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the New York State Public School Athletic Association or the governing body of the respective sport, and subject to the provisions of this policy and Policy 5281-R. Seventh and eighth grade students who are permitted to “play up” may be advanced only to the next level of competition (i.e. to a freshman team, if one exists, as is currently the case in boys basketball; to a junior varsity team, if there is no freshman team in the sport as is the case for boys baseball; or to a varsity team, if there is no freshman or junior varsity team in the sport as is the case for girls lacrosse).” This policy was implemented in October 2014 and has been in place since the 2014-15 school year. This policy can also be found on page 14 in the Student and Parent Athletic Handbook for PVC and CHHS Grades 7-12 and was reviewed and shared with the coaching staff by the former athletic director.
It is also important to note that the NYSED Athletic Placement Process (APP) rules govern “who” qualifies to move to another athletic level. Also noted in Policy 5281, “No middle school student will be permitted to try out for a high school team unless he or she has successfully completed all medical, physical and athletic testing and other prerequisites set forth in the Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP).”
It was discovered that student athletes were playing on levels that violated the policy. A thorough investigation was conducted and concluded that a violation to the policy did in fact occur. The investigation revealed there was no violation to the APP; however, athletes were moved to levels that didn’t align with the Board of Education policy. The district also believes that at this point in time, no other unilateral violations of Policy 5281 exist. Knowing that a school board sets policy and it is the superintendent’s responsibility to enforce policy, Dr. Fuhrman, Superintendent of Schools was informed and he shared it with the Board of Education. Dr. Fuhrman has reviewed the investigation and findings and considered our input. Dr. Fuhrman discussed these findings with the building principal and the Board of Education.
As an athletic department we acknowledge this error and will put measures in place to avoid the issue moving forward. We recognize that with the changes to the APP process, changes in athletic leadership and other factors contributed to the strain on the process; however, we are positioned well moving forward to ensure no future violations will occur. We would also like to address coaching appointments in this communication. As with all co-curricular activities, including coaching, appointments are made on an annual basis. According to the Croton-Harmon Teachers Association (CTA) contract, CTA members have the “right of first refusal” on all openings. This means that each year when positions are posted, the CTA members can choose to fill an opening. This June we have several members of the CTA retiring including physical education teachers and will be posting for coaching positions when hiring is complete. This will allow all CTA members the opportunity to review these coaching openings and decide if they will apply. Coaching appointments will be presented to the Board of Education for the 2016-2017 school year at the appropriate time for each season.
The current circumstances allowed the athletic department to carefully review the policy and reflect on the many moving parts of bringing a team of student athletes together, adjusting their levels of play if needed, and joining them with a quality coaching staff. We look forward to the 2016-2017 school year and thank all of our coaching staff for the hours dedicated to working with our student athletes. It was a tremendous year and your efforts and support of our children made all the difference.
Sincerely, Thomas Cunningham & Bill Thom
YOU MAY ALSO HAVE AN INTEREST IN READING A LETTER FROM COACH DON DAUBNEY http://everythingcroton.blogspot.com/2016/05/good-bye-thank-you-from-coach-don.html
UPDATED THE SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS SENT ANOTHER EMAIL--WHICH LOOKS IDENTICAL TO THE ABOVE--BUT THIS ONE IS DATED 5/20 INSTEAD OF 5/16?????