Proposed athletic code tabled for revisions by Ellsworth School Board

By Andrew Harrington
Posted 6/19/24

The Ellsworth Community School District tabled the proposed athletic code revisions for tweaks and heard a presentation on the Ellsworth Hall of Fame that is in the works during the June 10 school …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Proposed athletic code tabled for revisions by Ellsworth School Board


The Ellsworth Community School District tabled the proposed athletic code revisions for tweaks and heard a presentation on the Ellsworth Hall of Fame that is in the works during the June 10 school board meeting.

The Hall of Fame is meant to honor a handful of people each year for their achievements and impact on the school district and community as a whole. Selection for the Hall of Fame includes a public nomination process that will go live in the fall and a committee to review the nominations.

The committee is made up of a student co-chair, adult co-chair, athletic director, Ellsworth Community School District counselor, principal, two rotating booster reps, one to two rotating service organizations, a ministerial, a school foundation, a retired Ellsworth Community School District staff member, an art/public education representative and two to three at-large members.

To qualify, one must be out of Ellsworth High School for 10 or more years. Nominees will be kept for consideration for five years.

Maggie Pechacek is the high school student that is leading the project, and said the Hall of Fame is for both people who attended Ellsworth and have gone on to do big things and community members who have had a major impact in Ellsworth.

“These are the categories: Alumni, distinguished staff and then community members,” Pechacek said. “There’s a lot of different categories that other [districts] did… but we thought this was broader.”

New Athletic Code

While many pieces of a new version of the district’s Athletic Code saw agreement from the board, members agreed to table it for revisions they wanted to see.
Athletic Director Kevin Haglund presented on the topic, saying the Athletic Code had not been revised for five years and was in need of an update.

The proposed code includes changes such as the combination of the middle school and high school codes into one code, adding guilt by association, adding mid-quarter grades to the academic eligibility process, adding the superintendent to the appeals process, adding that parent permission does not supercede the code, removing the student representative from the appeals process, adding some activities in addition to sports on the code, adding nicotine products in addition to tobacco products as unacceptable use and removing return to play information after a concussion.

Board member Mark Stoesz said as a former athletic director and principal in Ellsworth, he had concerns about the inclusion of some of the activities listed in the code as well as the logistics of the academic ineligibility process starting at mid-quarter.

FFA, Student Council, National Honor Society, Forensics, Drama Club, International Club and Jazz Band/Vocal Jazz are the activities added that would be linked to the code. Stoesz’s primary concern with the activities list is that with athletic code penalties often causing suspensions for a fraction of the scheduled events, some of the activities would not fit the suspension system. An example given was the International Club, which offers trips that do not occur multiple times a year, making a fraction of the trip difficult to determine.

“That means they would have to sit out 10% of the trip, according to your policy because that’s the only event,” Stoesz said. “To me that would probably be problematic.”

Stoesz also had concerns about the mid-quarter academic eligibility system, saying it could use a second look and potentially some tweaks. The proposed system adds that at mid-quarter, students failing classes are ineligible for their sport or activity until they are passing. Failing one or more classes at the end of the quarter would result in a suspension for 10% of scheduled events.

Haglund said there can be exceptions made depending on situations including if teachers did not catch up on grading missing work, which Stoesz said may bring too much judgment into the decision.

While Stoesz “conceptually” agreed with the idea of the mid-quarter academic eligibility check, he showed support for a two-week probation period at mid-quarter that would allow students a brief period of time to boost their grades before ineligibility, a process Prescott uses. Stoesz emphasized students making the transition to high school, saying the first few weeks can often bring academic difficulty.

“I just worry about the application and what it could do to kids as they’re transitioning, if they have a life event or if they have anything happen,” Stoesz said.

Stoesz also had worries about the workload the proposal would put on administration to track down all of the ineligible student-athletes.

Superintendent Barry Cain said if the mid-quarter policy is going to go into effect, the level of communication with parents will need to be strong.

“That parent needs to be contacted by that teacher,” Cain said. “The earlier you communicate with the parents the better. It shouldn’t take athletics to make that happen, but it is going to need to be a true team effort across the board.”

According to board documents, the concussion return to play information was removed because the WIAA has return to play guidelines that will be included in the code presentation, but does not need to be in the code of conduct.

A shift from the previous code, students that attend a gathering with alcohol receive a penalty even if they leave immediately. Haglund said the change comes because it becomes difficult to prove when someone arrived and if they actually planned to immediately leave or not. There are exceptions including a wedding or graduation party with parents or guardians.

“Proof of immediacy is very difficult,” Haglund said. “How do you prove that you were leaving immediately and how do you prove that you were only there for a short time? If you were there and it got busted, were you actually leaving immediately or were you there?”


The board approved the following personnel changes:

Hires: Katie Childers, elementary speech language assistant.

Retirement: Lemoine Baker, bus driver; Dan Unser, bus driver.

Extra/Co-Curricular Hires: Katie Bennett Deiss, mentor; Lexi Daute, JV volleyball coach; Kristen Elbe, mentor; Carson Huppert, high school varsity head wrestling coach; Michelle Jansen, Guiding Coalition-math specialist; Hilary Thom, team leader of pupil services 4K-5; Tennessee Wacek, C team volleyball coach.

Extra/Co-Curricular Resignations: Lexi Daute, C team volleyball coach; Carson Huppert, middle school wrestling coach; Roarke Langer, assistant varsity wrestling coach; Owen Matzek, middle school football coach; Owen Matzek, second assistant varsity (JV) wrestling coach; Brooke Minder, JV volleyball coach; Tennessee Wacek, eighth grade assistant volleyball coach; Haley Yaeger, JV girls tennis coach.

Other Business

  • Authorized the American Deposit Management Company as an authorized agent for district funds.
  • Acknowledged the Middle School Honors Choir students and the student-athletes that placed at the State track competition.
Ellsworth School Board, athletic code, Hall of Fame, Ellsworth, Wisconsin