MHSA Executive Director Mark Beckman and MTDA Director Bob Currie have developed this document to answer questions related to the impact of MTDA coursework on student eligibility in MHSA programs.
The following questions and answers regarding MHSA student eligibility in relationship to Montana Digital Academy courses were developed as a combined communication effort by the Directors of both the MHSA and MTDA.
Q: What is the current rule regarding student attendance and MHSA eligibility?
A: Current MHSA By-Laws require that a student must be in attendance for twenty hours per week (in the bricks and mortar) at the school where the student participates.
Q: How many courses can a student take online from MTDA and be eligible for student extracurricular activities and does it matter where the online course is taken?
A: The number of online courses a student takes is not the issue when it comes to eligibility but the location where the student takes the course is important. For this coming school year (2010-11), students can take Digital Academy classes at the school (in the computer lab, at the back of a classroom, etc.) and still be eligible, meeting the bricks and mortar requirement. The important thing to note is that students still must be attending school (in the bricks and mortar) for twenty hours per week (four half-credit classes per day).
Q. Can courses taken online from the MTDA be used for credit recovery in regard to restoring MHSA activity eligibility?
A: No, not at the present time. MTDA credit recovery courses would be viewed in the same manner as other methods that are used to “make-up” credit under the Current MHSA By-Laws which states the following:
The scholastic record at the end of the semester shall be final and deficiencies may not be made up in any manner. Deficiencies, including incompletes, conditions and failures for the previous semester may not be made up during a subsequent semester, summer session, night school, correspondence, or tutoring for the purpose of establishing or maintaining MHSA eligibility.
Q. Is the MHSA planning to review the By-Laws that pertain to courses taken from the MTDA?
A. The MHSA Executive Board appointed a committee to once again review MHSA eligibility rules. To maintain our viability as an effective high school activities association, we must be proactive in evaluating MHSA eligibility rules; be pro-active in determining the effectiveness of those rules; and be pro-active in considering the relevance of MHSA eligibility rules with respect to the current educational landscape facing our students and our member school districts. In fact, different curriculum delivery methodologies which have been recently approved by the Montana Board of Public Education in partnership with the Montana legislature, as well as the Montana Governor, allow for dissemination of student curriculum course work for academic credit potentially outside the brick and mortar of the single school facility. This change alone produces an environment that necessitates the Ad-Hoc Committee to formulate creative student eligibility recommendations for the MHSA membership to consider.