Photo by Morgan Plunkett
Recent changes to the transfer policy have altered the criteria for transfer students to remain at East. When the first quarter of the 2016-2017 school year ended, the changes left transfer students worried if they could remain in school. The transfer policy is the policy that defines what students can come to East, who don’t live within East boundaries, and the criteria that allows those students to remain at East.
According to Principal John McKinney, the purpose of the transfer policy is to allow parents and students the freedom to have a choice of what school they attend, but with the understanding that with that choice comes additional expectations. These expectations include adequate academic performance, proper attendance records and no major discipline issues.
These criteria can be difficult to meet all the time for some transfer students. The ten day absence limit can be especially burdensome for some students, such as senior Ireland Hague. She had to deal with the policy rules when she was very sick last year.
“Last year I had walking pneumonia, and was sick for about 20 days,” Hague said. “I would still have to come to school because my mom didn’t want me to rack up absences”
Transfers used to be approved by the school and students were guaranteed admission for the entirety of the school year, barring any major issues with the administration. They additionally needed to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to remain at the school. The Shawnee Mission School District decided last school year to update these criteria and raise them to a higher standard.
Now, transfer students must maintain at least a “C-” in every course on every quarterly grade report, which requires higher academic performance than the previous 2.5 GPA requirement. Transfer students can also be revoked of their enrollment at the end of any quarter, as opposed to having their transfers revoked at the end of the school year.
“I believe some of those expectations fall to the administration,” McKinney said, “That if a student is struggling, the administration should help. But that’s the case for any kid.”
McKinney believes that he and the administration need to make sure they’re being diligent to get in contact with all transfer students, to make sure they’re meeting the criteria for staying at East. This includes quarterly check-ins with the status of each transfer students’ grades and attendance.
“I know we’ve got a great school with great students, and if a student really wants to be here, then I’m going to do what I can do to help them stay here.” McKinney said.