Home-school students cleared to participate in Dare County’s high … – The Outer Banks Voice

Home-school students cleared to participate in Dare County’s high school athletics

By on January 31, 2023

Members of the Dare County School Board unanimously supported the new policy. (Credit: Corinne Saunders/OBV)

A new Dare County Schools policy now allows the county’s home-schooled students in grades 9-12 to try out for public high school athletic teams, provided they dually enroll and meet other district requirements. The Dare County Schools Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of adopting the policy in a specially called meeting on Monday, Jan. 30.

“It’s a big win for Dare County,” Dare Education Board Member Mary Ellon Balance said following the vote.

“I understand that this is not ideal for all situations, and that it can be a little bit of a struggle for the school, as well as the home-school parent,” Ballance said. “But the path is there, and we’re including all Dare County children with the ability to participate, and that’s what was most important.”

To participate in high school athletics, prospective home-school athletes must first notify their attendance-zoned high school principal in writing of their intent to try out for a specific sports team at least 10 days prior to that sport’s tryouts. The education board meeting took place on Jan. 30 specifically to facilitate that notification timing for spring sports.

Dare County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight said at the meeting that Friday, Feb. 3 is the deadline for the written notification to be given to principals because spring sports tryouts begin Feb. 13.

In addition to the written notice, home-school students must enroll in two classes through the public high school, one of which must be an on-campus class.

The policy reflects regulations set out by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Basnight noted, adding that “We are closely tied to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, which governs eligibility, and that’s why we’re trying to follow their rules.”

No special sections of classes will be opened to accommodate dually enrolled home-school students, but they will be able to enroll in anything that currently has seats open this spring. Going forward, they will have the opportunity to enroll through the same process as regularly enrolled students, with no preference given to them, Basnight noted.

The dually enrolled home-school students must keep their coaches notified of their progress in both home-school and public school classes, meeting the same attendance and scholastic requirements as regularly enrolled students to maintain their athletic eligibility.

Per the amended policy guiding extracurricular activities, a section specific to home-school athletes was added. Among other requirements, prospective home-school student-athletes must provide results of a standardized achievement test taken within the last year that demonstrates they are on grade level; submit proof of having been enrolled in a registered home-school for 365 days prior to participating in athletics; and maintain their dual enrollment status continuously.

Erica Rohrbacher, a mother of two home-schooled students, spoke in support of the policy change during public comment at the Jan. 9 school board meeting. She also attended the Jan. 30 meeting, telling the Voice afterward that the policy change “kind of gives us the best of both worlds”—participation in athletics while keeping the majority of education at home.

Her seventh-grade and first-grade children have both played soccer with Dare County Parks and Recreation since they were four, and her oldest hopes to become a professional soccer player. Rohrbacher said she and other home-school parents wanted this opportunity so their student athletes could possibly secure athletic scholarships as well.

Board member Carl Woody asked about the possibility of home-school students in elementary and middle school participating in extracurriculars offered by the public schools.

“These policies only are specific to high school,” Basnight replied. Board Attorney Rachel Hitch noted that dual enrollment at the middle school level would be a “bigger policy decision for the board than just the home-school athletic decision” and would need to take place at another time.


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Topic: Dare County – Kill Devil Hills EMS #01 / FS #14 – 2 PM Re-Bid Opening

Time: Feb 8, 2023 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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