A Guide for the 6th Grade Parent
Seventh grade is an exciting time in the development of a child. Elementary school is over, middle school is here! The school day starts and ends earlier. There are lockers. Changing classes. Dances. And Interscholastic Athletics.
Interscholastic Athletics are a tremendous extra curricular activity for any student. Hempfield offers Interscholastic Athletics in the following sports for 7th grade students:
Fall: Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer, Field Hockey, Football, Cheerleading
Winter: Boys and Girls Basketball, Wrestling, Cheerleading
Spring: Boys and Girls Track & Field
There are community based teams for the middle school age group for these and other sports that use the Hempfield and Black Knight names, however they are not sponsored by the Hempfield School District.
With the exception of Basketball, teams for this age group are typically referred to as the ‘Junior High Team’, such as the Junior High Wrestling Team. Junior high teams are comprised of athletes in grades 7 through 9 from CMS, LMS and HHS (freshmen). Basketball fields 2 teams at this level: a middle school team (7th and 8th grade) and a freshman team.
Some teams employ a tryout process and make cuts. Other teams do not. Whether or not cuts are made is at the discretion of the head junior high coach for a team and is based on available spots in the line up, student interest and other factors. If you have questions about tryouts for a specific team, please contact the head junior high coach for the team. E-mail address information is available on the team pages of the Hempfield website.
The governing body for interscholastic athletics in the state of Pennsylvania is the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA). The PIAA sets the rules and regulations that all schools must follow.
Before any athlete can try out for a sport, the athlete must have a physical examination done by a physician. Athletes must also complete concussion baseline testing, administered by the Athletic Training Staff. By PIAA rule, the physical exam can take place any time after June 1st of the prior school year. That means that for athletes competing in the 2019-2020 school year, physical exams must take place June 1 2019 or later.
It is perfectly acceptable to use a family doctor for this exam (at the expense of the family). When the physical exam is administered, the physician should complete the PIAA’s Comprehensive Initial Pre-Participation Evaluation (CIPPE) form. This form must be submitted to the athletic trainer two weeks prior to the start of practices or tryouts for a particular sport. The CIPPE form and other details about physical exams are available on the physical exam page of the district website.
While one physical exam and one CIPPE form covers an athlete for an entire school year, the PIAA requires an update prior to the start of each individual season. The update is completed by the parents and does not require a doctor’s signature. This recertification of an athlete’s health is typically called a ReCert Form or Section 7 (referring to the section of the CIPPE to which it corresponds). The ReCert Form can be found on the physical exam page of the district website.
Academics are an important part of interscholastic athletics. Athletes must maintain passing grades in order to stay academically eligible and compete with their team. Eligibility is determined weekly by the Athletic Director’s office using grade book information from Sapphire. Students may not be failing more than 1 course at a time. At their discretion, coaches may set more stringent academic eligibility standards; coaches will communicate that with their teams at the start of the season.
A major difference between interscholastic athletics and community based teams is transportation. On community teams, parents drive to practice, from practice, to games, from games. Maybe there is a car pool. On interscholastic teams, there is no driving athletes to practice*! Practice is right after school at locations that vary by team, but the school provides shuttle busses to get athletes to practice if needed. Parents are responsible for picking up athletes promptly at the conclusion of practice; coaches will communicate pick up times to families. For competitions, the school also busses teams to events, and back to a common pick up location (typically the team’s practice location). Some teams allow athletes to travel home from competitions with their families; coaches will communicate appropriate procedures for this.
Communication in athletics is vital to success, both in the game and out. When foul weather strikes, changes to competitions are posted on twitter @hsdathletics. Changes to practice schedules are announced in school and communicated to teams and families by head coaches. Athletes and parents with questions about a particular sport are encouraged to contact the head junior high coach for their team.
*Some teams may practice on vacation days, Saturdays or occasionally later in the evening, in which case athletes must find their own transportation to practice.