Saint Patrick School

St. Patrick Athletic Association (SPAA) Policies and Procedures

It is the philosophy of the St. Patrick Athletic Association that sports at the elementary school level are for the purposes of learning fundamentals, Christian values, and having fun. This has been the history at St. Patrick’s: equal playing time under the idea of “learning” the sport. With those as our goals, in grades 3-6, equal playing time should be implemented as much as possible.  In grades 7-8, in preparation for the more competitive nature of high school sports, playing time can be based upon the athlete’s attitude and abilities, while still including all team members as much as possible.  The Grand Rapids Area Catholic Elementary Athletic Council (GRACEAC), which we belong to has minimum playing time requirements for each sport and each grade level. At St. Patrick, we try to go beyond that standard.  If a team is not ultra competitive, it should still be treated as a learning experience for all. If a team is very competitive, putting in line ups to win games is understood.  If our team is far ahead in points during a game, or far behind, that should be used as an opportunity to let second string players participate more.

Sports Sign Ups  

Sports sign ups are a commitment, not an interest survey.  

Each sport’s season will have a signup time prior to its start.  

Seasons are Fall, Winter 1, Winter 2, and Spring. Unless otherwise listed, sports are for grade 5-8. 

Fall: Football, Volleyball, Boys Soccer, Sideline Cheer, Cross Country

Winter 1: Boys Basketball, Competitive Cheer

Winter 2: Girls Basketball, Wrestling, Boys 3-4 grade Basketball, Girls 3-4 Grade Basketball    

Spring: Baseball, Softball, Track, Tennis, Girls Soccer, Girls and Boys LaCrosse

There is a sign up deadline for each season.  Once that has passed, there is a small window of time in which a parent may remove their child from the team roster, by contacting the athletic director.  Once that deadline has passed, St. Patrick Athletic Association is required to pay the fee for the athlete to play that season’s sport, regardless of whether they participate.  If an athlete is signed up to play a sport passed the deadline for removal, but does not participate, the athlete’s family is responsible for either working the season’s required volunteer slots for sporting events, or paying a $50 fee to SPAA, billed through Smart Tuition.    

Athlete/Parent Conflict Resolution Protocol

An athlete or parent is not to approach a coach to discuss a game, a game incident or a situation that occurred during a game that has provoked an adverse emotional response or a hostile situation until at least 24 hours after the game.  After the 24 hours have passed, the following four steps should be followed to resolve any issues.

Step 1:  The athlete brings their grievance directly to the coach to be rectified.  If the athlete is in 4th grade or below, the parent may begin with Step 2.

Step 2:  If Step 1 does not resolve the issue, the parent may then contact the coach to find a solution to the issue, outside of practice time.

Step 3:  If after Steps 1 and 2 the athlete and parent still feel the issue has not been properly resolved, they may then bring their grievance to the athletic director.  The athletic director will then set up a meeting between coach, parent and athletic director to resolve the conflict. 

Step 4:  If after Steps 1, 2 and 3 the athlete and parent still feel the issue has not been properly resolved, they may bring their grievance to the Principal.  The Principal will then set up a meeting between coach, parent and Principal to resolve the conflict.

Sports Parent Volunteer Policy

Parents (or responsible family members) of athletes playing any GRACEAC sport will be required to act as a volunteer during home sporting events within the season of their athlete’s participation and other fundraising events.  

Volunteering responsibilities may include: 

  1. Gate (entry fee collection)
  2. Table (scoreboard, time sheets, and official scorebook)
  3. Concessions
  4. Gym Set Up
  5. Gym Clean Up
  6. Friday Pizza Sales


All efforts are made to avoid conflicts, however once the volunteer schedule is set by the Athletic Boosters, it is up to individual families to trade or make arrangements to cover any scheduled shifts they cannot fulfill.

A $50 fee will be charged directly to a student’s Smart Tuition account for each missed volunteer time slot.

These requirements allow students to play sports, free of cost.

If a parent is also a coach in the GRACEAC league during said season, they are still required to fulfill parent volunteer responsibilities.  Volunteering as a coach counts towards parent’s school volunteering requirements, but does not excuse parents from sports volunteering requirements.

Coaching Requirements and Expectations

All St. Patrick coaches are 100 percent volunteer.  The school and diocese require all volunteers to fulfill volunteer safety requirements.  The school office will assist in fulfilling the required training to volunteer.

Coaching fulfills a school volunteer requirement. 

Coaches must agree to, and abide by, the SPAA philosophy.  Learning sports fundamentals, teaching Christian values, and sportsmanship must be the priority.    

Many coaches are parents, which is natural for the volunteer commitment. However, parents need to be cautious not to play their child significantly more time than other children.  This will put the coach in a precarious situation. Parents who volunteer to coach should make sure to prioritize fair playing time.

Sports Boosters

Boosters are a group of sports parents who meet quarterly to discuss upcoming sports seasons, fundraising, and assisting the athletic director.

Being a member of the Boosters fulfills a school volunteer requirement.  

Thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and for making St. Patrick Athletics great.
GO IRISH!!!

September 2019


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