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LPCS opening athletics to home-schooled students

Lenoir County Public Schools will open up participation in middle school and high school athletics to home-schooled students in Lenoir County who meet eligibility requirements established recently by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The expansion of eligibility requirements is effective with the opening of the 2019-2020 school year and the fall sports schedule. Participation requires the student maintain dual enrollment as both a home school student and public school student. Full eligibility requirements established by the NCHSAA in May mandate that a home-school student must:

·       Be registered with the home school for 365 days prior to being eligible to participate in NCHSAA athletics.

·       Enroll at the public school “of domicile” for at least half of the school day.

·       Take at least one class on campus each semester.

·       Notify principal within 10 days prior to the first practice date of each sports season.

·       Be on grade level according to a nationally standardized achievement test indicating grade level.

·       Pass all courses in which he/she is enrolled in the public school program.

Parents of interested students should contact the principals of the public middle school or high school in their attendance zone, according to LCPS Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, who serves as the district’s athletic director. After the enrollment verification process, parent will be informed of next steps, including tryout dates. 

Schools will determine eligibility with LCPS Central Services providing oversight when questions arise, Harvey said. School athletic directors will be provided a checklist from the NCHSAA.

“Students will also would have the opportunity to participate in other extracurricular school activities due to their enrollment,” said Harvey. A potential benefit for public schools is an increase in their Average Daily Membership – the basis for state allocations – “if current home-schooled students take advantage of this policy,” Harvey said.

According to data from the North Carolina Department of Administration, which oversees home schools in the state, 105 home schools enrolled 379 students in Lenoir County during the last school year. It is impossible to determine from publicly available state figures how many of those students are of middle-school and high-school age.

LCPS offers more than a dozen varsity sports for male and female students in high school. Fall sports include football, men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, cross country, women’s tennis and cheerleading. Middle schools field a range of athletic teams, although sixth graders are prohibited from playing football.

The high school sports season begins with football. Practice commences July 30.