Athletic Handbook Atlanta international school

A Word from the Athletic Director

Dear AIS Community,

The mission of the AIS Athletic Department is to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn from, compete and participate in the athletic experience. The benefits from being part of a team and learning athletic lessons are essential parts of our program.

Athletics is an integral part of a student’s education and growth at AIS, from elementary school through to the high school. Through participation in athletics, students will mature physically, emotionally and socially. They will learn to take responsibility for personal growth by developing integrity, commitment and dedication. Students will develop values such as time management, goal setting, leadership, developing a work ethic and sportsmanship. Combined with encouraging a healthy lifestyle, these values build character and prepare AIS graduates for success beyond Atlanta.

We welcome back our returning coaches, some highly esteemed in the MAAC and GHSA conferences; we welcome our new coaches, whether new to AIS or repositioned; and we welcome our other athletic staff, from our trainer to our drivers. Our department does not just teach sport but we teach and demonstrate the development of character through sport. We work hard to ensure that each student has a challenging and learning experience during the respective sports season, while maintaining focus on their academic mission.

AIS competes in the GHSA, MAAC, Georgia Soccer and other recreational conferences and programs and as a result offers a robust number of sporting opportunities.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the following pages of this handbook. You will find answers to your many questions regarding rules, regulations and the athletic programs offered at AIS.

Sincerely,

John Amosa

Director of Athletics

AIS Community Principles

We, the members of the AIS community, believe that there are certain principles upon which our school community is based. We believe that all members of our school community possess worth and dignity and should be treated accordingly. We believe that AIS should strive to be inclusive, compassionate, welcoming and non-hierarchical. Implementing these beliefs and principles will not be easy and will require our community to actively confront difficult and sensitive subjects and “understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.” (IBO Mission Statement, November 2002).

We believe that all members of the AIS community, including students, faculty, administration, staff, parents and Board members should try to respect themselves and others irrespective of their differences

Develop their own personal values and respect the values of others

Value their own culture, respect and strive to understand the cultures of others and understand and support multiculturalism in our community

Be ethical, act with honor and integrity and, above all, show concern and care for others in and outside our school community

For our school community to be effective, we believe that every member should do his or her best to support the principles upon which it is based.

Athletics Continuum

The AIS Athletic Continuum is designed to provide a genuine sports experience for every child who is involved. By ‘genuine’ we mean that all students will be able to join a team at an agreed level of competition, that this team will be well-equipped and well coached, and that students will be challenged to improve their skills in appropriate ways. We will achieve this through a strategic alignment of our competitive sports and PE programs, supported by collaborative partnerships with volunteer sports organizations and schools.

AIS Athletic Department Vision

The Atlanta International School Athletics Department commits to excellence, ensuring that practices and structures are aligned with the mission and values of our school with student athletes’ learning (teamwork, determination, character, leadership, dignity, humility) as its focus, honoring clear values of sportsmanship. The Atlanta International School Athletic Department will promote and support a professional, reflective and team oriented environment.

We will position our teams to win. Positioning our teams to win and growing a winning culture will benefit the student(s), the team, the community, student retention and our marketability. Varsity level teams should be in a position to be represented at the state tournament 50% of the time.

We envision a world where institutions and individuals value athletic endeavor, whether in competition or during practice, as being instrumental in providing long-term social, physical and emotional rewards.

AIS Athletic Department Mission

In order to accomplish this vision statement, it is the mission of the Atlanta International School Athletic Department to:

Be a highly organized, amicable department that trusts one another and plans collaboratively.

Communicate in a clear and timely manner to stakeholder groups.

Be a visible presence at school events, both athletic and non-athletic.

Create a safe environment for students to practice and compete.

The AIS Athletics Program

AIS competitive sports are played within the framework of either Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) for high school, Metro Atlanta Athletic Conference (MAAC) for middle school and various organizations such as Georgia Soccer, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church (PRUMC) or Northside United Methodist Church (NUMC) for our primary school.

High School/Middle School

The regular season of competition will culminate in the qualification in an end of season tournament or meet. Often the regular season will consist of matches against region/area opponents (required) and other teams from other regions/areas/classifications.

Each of the above organizations establishes guidelines for opponents and participants. Where AIS has not established more stringent guidelines, the guidelines of the organization in which the team is participating will apply. GHSA, MAAC and Georgia Soccer manuals are available online and are retained in the Athletic Department and are available for your review.

Primary/ Elementary School

These are generally recreational athletic activity programs, which are connected to various community leagues in the local area. An exception to this in the primary school is the AIS Eagles soccer academy, which plays as part of Georgia Soccer and does travel more than the recreational programs.

‘AIS believes that a wide offering of competitive and recreational sports adds value to the educational experience of the participants. Emphasis is placed foremost on participation and positive sportsmanship, where coaches are teachers and role-models for athletes, fostering positive attitudes, teamwork and respect for rules and discipline. (Learners) understand the value of physical well-being, of remaining fit and healthy throughout all the stages of life

Selection

Tryouts will be held at the commencement of the sports season. Approximate dates of the sports season are as follows:

Fall Season:

For HS teams- week preceding the opening of school- mid November

For MS teams- the first week of school- mid November

Winter Season:

For HS teams- End of Oct – end of Feb

For MS teams- End of Oct- mid Feb

Spring Season:

For HS teams- Late Jan- End of May

For MS teams- Early Feb- Early May

Students are advised of tryout schedules through announcements and/or postings at school. Students may try out for multiple teams in one season. Students must meet the age and grade eligibility requirements set out by the GHSA, MAAC and other organizations in which they compete as well as AIS standards set out in the student beliefs and expectations document.

Skill levels will be objectively assessed during tryouts. Coaches may consider other factors, such as attitude, leadership, spirit, etc., when evaluating candidates. Team selection will be posted promptly following the completion of the tryout sessions. Athletes that do not make one team are encouraged to discuss areas for improvement with the coach so that they might qualify for the team in the next season.

Participation in team sports at AIS is a privilege, which may be revoked due to inappropriate behavior or conduct or insufficient academic progress. Academics will always take precedent over sports where such decisions must be made.

Pre-season obligations

Varsity training gear

All selected varsity players will be expected to have appropriate training and warm up gear as pertains to the team they are selected on. On occasion, this gear will be optional but the expectation is that players will purchase selected varsity gear as part of being on the varsity team.

Pre- season training

All players hoping to be selected for a varsity squad (and in some instances JV squads) must recognize that attendance at pre-season training sessions with training staff is expected. Attendance and work ethic demonstrated at these sessions will be factored into selection.

Athletic and Academic Eligibility

In Grades Nine through Twelve:

Unless otherwise noted, a student is eligible to represent his or her school in interscholastic contests if he/she has passed five (5) unit subjects or their equivalent the semester immediately preceding participation. This means that a student must have passed during the previous semester a minimum of five (5) courses carrying credit toward graduation. Summer school is an extension of the second semester.

All students participating in interscholastic contests must be on track and meet eligibility requirements each succeeding semester. Students must also be on track for graduation as defined by the GHSA. Students must have accumulated a minimum number of Carnegie units.

Per GHSA rules, Sophomores must have five (5) units, Juniors must have eleven (11) units, and Seniors must have seventeen (17) units in order to be eligible.

In Grades Six through Eight:

Eligibility will be evaluated at each grading period other than the first interim grading period of the first semester. Middle School students may remain eligible for participation in school-sponsored extracurricular programs as long as they meet two expectations: They are passing all of their courses, and they have completed all required work in each of their courses. (Incomplete work resulting from excused absences is handled on a case-by-case basis.) A student taking seven courses and failing one or more courses at the end of any grading period, other than the first interim grading period of the first semester, will immediately be declared ineligible for participation in practice and performance. Any student having a failing average or missing required work in any grading period will be required to attend Office Hours in that subject. Eligibility will be reevaluated as follows:

For students ineligible due to a course failure, eligibility will be reevaluated each subsequent Friday. When passing the failed course(s), the student will be reinstated to the extracurricular program for the remainder of that grading period.

For students ineligible due to missing work, eligibility will be reevaluated daily, and the student, upon completion of all required work, will be reinstated to the extracurricular program immediately for the remainder of that grading period.

Eighth Grade students must pass a minimum of five courses the semester prior to entering Ninth Grade for eligibility purposes.

Summer school is considered an extension of the second semester.

Make-Up Work: Make-up work will be accepted on the same basis as make-up work for any pupil, but with the limit that such make-up work for the semester will be completed within fourteen (14) calendar days after the close of the semester. The student is ineligible until such time as the make-up work is completed and the required passing grade(s) is recorded, unless the student has passed five classes excluding the class in which he/she received an incomplete.

Time Commitment

A season begins with the first practice/try-out session and extends through the final contest. A student-athlete is expected to be at all practices, games, team meetings, and bus departures across the entire season. They must arrive in prompt fashion to all activities and remain throughout. Varsity programs require a minimum 4-5 day a week commitment, depending on the program. JV and Middle School requires a 3-4 day commitment. Middle School and Junior Varsity programs generally do not have a practice or game on school holidays, but may have a Saturday practice or game. Varsity programs may require practice or game attendance on or during school holidays or weekends.

Student-athletes must be present in class during the school day to participate in athletics. This means they must be present on campus before 11:15am to be eligible. The final decision will be made by the Athletic Director and the appropriate Head of School as to whether a student can compete. In order to compete in a non-school day game or meet the athlete must have been present for the full day of school the day before. Coaches are advised to contact their athlete’s parents regarding the absences to determine the reason. If the absence was excused it will be determined by the Athletic Director and appropriate Head of School as to whether the student-athlete can compete the following non-school day.

All absences from practice and games must be discussed with the coach. The coach will determine if an absence is excused. An unexcused absence from a scheduled practice or game may be subject to the athlete being suspended.

College visits, family trips, and appointments during a sport season should be scheduled after consulting with your coach so that your absence will not negatively impact on the athlete’s attendance and the team’s success. It is strongly encouraged by the Athletic Department and Coaches that student-athlete plan college visits, family trips, and appointments outside of the sport season so they may fulfill all of their obligations to their team.

A student who has been injured and has had medical treatment cannot participate again until he/she has been cleared by his/her doctor AND the school’s certified trainer.

Travel

Under normal circumstances, the school will provide transportation to all away contests. This may be in the form of school certified minibuses or a chartered activity bus. All athletes are required to ride the team bus, unless other arrangements have been made prior to departure. If parents wish to drive their son and/or daughter to a contest they must ask the permission of the coach or the Athletic Director. Directions are available to all away competitions on the AIS portal. Athletes are permitted to ride home from an event with their parents, but must notify their coach before they leave the venue. Athletes are never permitted to drive to or from an away away athletic event in their own personal vehicles without the coaches consent. Furthermore, they are not allowed to transport fellow athletes to practices, team gatherings, or any team-sponsored event. Parents are responsible for picking up their child after they return to school or 15 minutes after a home game is complete. Promptness is appreciated to allow faculty and staff to lock the gym and leave.

The Club Sport Question

In general, student-athletes are not permitted to compete with a non-AIS team or activity during their current AIS season when that activity creates a conflict with an AIS team commitment, unless they have previously discussed it with the team coach and Athletic Director. It will be determined by the Coach and the Athletic Director whether the student may participate on the team. Similarly, it must be discussed before the start of the season (the first day of practice/try-out) if the student is allowed to leave practice early/miss practice for a club commitment. Alternative make-up arrangements for missing practice are down to the individual team’s discretion. Contests should never be missed due to a club commitment.

Health and Safety

Pre participation physical exams

A yearly physical examination is required. The AIS pre- participation form, available online, must be completed by a physician and submitted with his/her date and stamp, to the AIS Athletic Office prior to the first competitive game/contest. Students may try out without a physical, but may not compete. The physical covers all sports for one calendar year and may therefore be completed during the summer prior to the year of athletic competition. Physical examination forms will be kept on file in the athletic office. Physicals begin to be effective for the following school year on May 1 of the preceding school year. This must be submitted through the Magnus system. If a physical is done at AIS on ‘Physicals Day’ it will be submitted to Magnus by the AIS trainer.

Concussion Awareness

All students and their parents must read and sign the AIS concussion awareness form, available online, before the start of their season. This must be submitted through the Magnus system.

imPact Concussion pre-season testing.

Students must also take a baseline test exam with AIS’s trainer before participation in practice or competition. The test scores will be kept on record with the trainer and nursing staff of AIS. It will be used as a measure should a student be thought to have a potential concussion. Testing will be as follows:

All students new to AIS or to AIS athletics will be required to complete an imPact test. (ie. all grade 6 students interested in athletics will need to complete an imPact test.)

All 9th graders will be required to complete an imPact test. This will last through their sophomore year.

All juniors will be required to complete an imPact test.

All students who were retested in the previous school year will be required to complete a baseline test before participating in sport.

Communication

Guidelines for contacting coaches

The Atlanta International School Athletics Department has an open-door policy to facilitate better communication between the coaches and athletic staff with students, parents, and boosters. In many cases, all concerned have benefited when interested and objective persons have readily communicated with each other. Quite often because of their relationship with a child, coaches can be of great assistance to the parents.

Student-athletes are encouraged to talk to the coach in person if they are upset about the team or their role on the team. This is an opportunity for personal growth through dealing directly with a personal issue.

Students are encouraged to meet with the Coach before or after practice, or at an agreed upon time during the school day. Email communication is also appropriate.

If a problem arises concerning an athlete that compels parents to have a meeting with the Athletic Department, the parents should first talk to the involved Coach. However, it is advises that they do not talk to a coach when upset or after a contest. They should call or email and make an appointment to have a private conference. The coach will not discuss playing time, but will be honest in their assessment of the student-athlete in question’s abilities and potential. Parents and Coaches should never compare one student-athlete to another in conversation.

If the initial conversation with the Coach does not resolve the issue, the following chain of command should be followed: the Athletic Director, the appropriate Head of School, and lastly the Principal of the School.

Appropriate open communication

As a basic element of AIS’s Community Principles is the belief that open, respectful and honest communications between members of the AIS community are key. In furtherance of these communications, AIS has adopted an Open Communications policy. Through the Open Communications policy any member of the AIS community—student, parent, staff or faculty or school leader—may discuss and seek resolution of issues or concerns of any type, including employment concerns. This is the method of issue resolution that our School requests be used when inevitable concerns arise. Thus, no member of the AIS Community shall be retaliated against or otherwise treated unfavorably as a result of their good faith utilization of this Open Communications policy.

In order for the process to have the best chance of resolving concerns, the concerns must be brought forward under this process in a timely and direct manner. For example, if a student-athlete of a team has a concern, generally, it will not be helpful if that athlete begins discussing the concern widely with other members of the team before giving the appropriate party a chance to resolve the concern. Such conduct may be counterproductive and result in concerns festering with no meaningful chance of resolution. Once an Open Communications concern has been initiated, the matter shall be considered under review and thus, AIS requests that parties involved not discuss the matter with others pending outcome of the Open Communications process.

While the mechanics of the Open Communications process may vary based on the situation presented, the following sets forth the general steps which AIS requests be followed. Questions of a general nature about the Athletics Department’s Open Communications policy and how it works may be directed to Athletic Director who shall have responsibility for responding to general questions regarding the Open Communications policy. With the exception of Step 1, which allows for some personal discretion in terms of with whom to begin the Open Communications process, AIS requests that all other steps of the process be followed in the order specified.

CODES OF CONDUCT

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