North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District
Parent-Student Athletic Handbook
District Mission Statement:
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, a district committed to innovation, personal excellence, high achievement, and community partnership, provides all students with personalized opportunities through a broad spectrum of exemplary educational experiences to develop their fullest potential, to foster lifelong learning, and to become responsible citizens in a continually changing society.
Table of Contents
Message from the Administration
This handbook has been written to enhance the communication between parents, student-athletes, coaches and school administration. Since your child has expressed a desire to participate in interscholastic athletics at the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, we recommend that you take time to familiarize yourself with the contents of this handbook.
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District is interested in the development of young men and women through athletics. We believe that participation in sports provides a wealth of opportunities and experiences that assist students in personal growth and development. Lessons in sportsmanship, teamwork, and competition are integral parts of our athletic program, and we feel that these lessons will help our student-athletes as they transition to adulthood. It is our intent to maintain a program that is sound in purpose and focused on furthering each student’s educational maturity and personal well-being.
Likewise, we believe that you have committed yourselves to certain responsibilities and obligations as a parent/guardian/custodian of an athlete. We would like to take this opportunity to acquaint you with specific policies that are necessary for a well-organized program of athletics.
It is the role of the athletic department to make rules and follow NJSIAA guidelines governing interscholastic competition. These rules/guidelines need broad-based community support to be fully effective. This is achieved only through communication between the athletic department and the parents/guardians/custodians of our athletes. It is our hope to accomplish this objective through this parent-student athletic handbook.
Any concerns or questions may be directed to the athletic administration of your school. Questions regarding specific sports should be directed to the coach of the team on which your son/daughter is playing.
Yours in scholarship, sportsmanship and success,
Superintendent of Schools
Philosophy and Objectives
It is the intent of North Hunterdon and Voorhees High School Athletic Departments to provide the students of the high school a comprehensive, well-planned and balanced program of interscholastic athletics and to show how the student can benefit from participation in this type of activity.
The purpose of the athletic program at both North Hunterdon and Voorhees High Schools is to provide for the pursuit of competitive excellence in all sports, with the understanding that the pursuit of that excellence is educational in purpose. The prime concern is to develop the student-athlete physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally in a positive environment among all coaches, and participants.
The athletic program shall be conducted in accordance with existing Board of Education policies, rules and regulations. While the Board of Education takes great pride in winning, it does not condone “winning at any cost!” The Board discourages any and all pressures which might be interpreted as poor sportsmanship and compromise mental health. Infractions are all-inclusive for disciplinary purposes no matter the nature of the offense.
The program shall be managed and teams coached in a manner that strives to achieve the following objectives:
- Athletes should be required to maintain academic standards consistent with our eligibility policy.
- Participation in athletics is a privilege, not a right.
- Athletes must learn to abide by rules, regulations, and decisions associated with their particular sport. The coach has the responsibility to determine an athlete’s ability and talent, who shall make the team, and the coaching techniques and strategies that will be employed.
- There must be mutual respect for all who are involved in the competition – teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials.
- Participation helps develop character, cooperation, and the moral and ethical values that lead to useful citizenship.
- Participation teaches a student that discipline and self-sacrifice are necessary ingredients of teamwork.
- Through participation, the student-athlete will develop a healthy body, sound mind, and an appreciation of individual differences.
- Participation leads to a better understanding of ethics, sportsmanship, integrity, and fair play.
- Valuable lessons are learned in the course of competition, both winning and losing. They help us grow up and develop.
- The Board of Education, administration, members of the athletic staff, student-athletes, and parents should do everything within their power and ability to promote the athletic program and to create an atmosphere of learning that is in the best interest of students and the community.
Athletic Goals and Objectives
- The student-athlete shall learn teamwork: To work with others in a democratic society, a person must develop self-discipline, and respect for authority and the spirit of hard work and sacrifice. Athletes must place the team and its objectives higher than personal desires.
- To have fun: The main reason people participate in sports and games.
- To be successful: Our society is very competitive. We do not always win, but we succeed when we continually strive to do so. You can learn to accept defeat only by striving to win with earnest dedication. Develop a desire to excel.
- Sportsmanship: To accept success and defeat like a true sportsman, knowing you have done your best. We must learn to treat others as we would have others treat us. We need to develop desirable social traits, including emotional control, honesty, cooperation, and dependability.
- To improve: Continual improvement is essential to good citizenship. As an athlete, you must establish a goal and constantly try to reach that goal. You must try to better yourself in the skills involved and in those characteristics set forth as being desirable.
- Enjoy athletics: It is necessary to acknowledge all of the personal rewards we derive from athletics, and to give sufficiently of ourselves in order to preserve and improve the program.
- To develop desirable personal health habits: To be an active, contributing citizen, it is important to obtain a high degree of physical fitness through exercise and good health habits, and to develop a desire to maintain this level of physical fitness after formal competition has been completed.
During the current scholastic year, we will compete in the following interscholastic Sports:
Fall Season – Football, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Unified Soccer*, Boys Cross Country, Girls Cross Country, Cheerleading*, Field Hockey, Girls Tennis, Gymnastics (North Hunterdon only) and Girls Volleyball.
Winter Season – Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Unified Basketball*, Boys Fencing, Girls Fencing, Boys Indoor Track, Girls Indoor Track, Unified Bowling* (North Hunterdon only), Cheerleading*, Wrestling*, Girls Swimming, Boys Swimming.
Spring Season – Baseball, Softball, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Golf*, Boys Tennis, Boys Track & Field, Girls Track & Field, Unified Track and Field* (Voorhees only)
Responsibilities of a North Hunterdon and Voorhees Athlete
Responsibilities to your Team
Being a member of a North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District athletic team is the fulfillment of an early ambition for many students. The attainment of this goal carries with it certain traditions and responsibilities that must be maintained. A great athletic tradition is not built overnight. It takes hard work from many people over many years. As a member of an interscholastic squad, you have inherited a wonderful tradition, a tradition you are challenged to uphold.
We desire to win, but only with honor to our athletes, our school, our opponents, and our community. Such a tradition is worthy of the best efforts of all concerned. Over many years, our squads have achieved numerous county, league, and state championships. Many individuals have set records and won All-Conference and All-State honors.
It will not be easy to contribute to such a great athletic tradition. When you wear your school colors, we assume that you not only understand our traditions, but also are willing to assume the responsibilities that go with them. However, the contributions you make should be a satisfying accomplishment to you and your family.
Responsibilities to Yourself
The most important of these responsibilities is to broaden yourself and develop strength of character. You owe it to yourself to get the greatest possible good from your school experiences. Your studies, your participation in other extracurricular activities as well as in sports, prepare you for life as an adult.
Responsibilities to your School
Another responsibility you assume as a squad member is to your school. The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District cannot maintain its position as having outstanding programs unless you do your best in whatever activity you wish to engage. By participating in athletics to the maximum of your ability, you are contributing to the reputation of your school.
It is important for an athlete to understand that he or she becomes a more visible representative of the school when becoming a student-athlete. The student body and citizens of the community know you. You are on the stage with the spotlight on you. The student body, the community and other communities judge our school by your conduct and attitudes, both on and off the field. Because of this leadership role, you can contribute greatly to school spirit and community pride. Conversely, negative behavior can diminish the standing of the school in the community.
Requirements for Student-Athlete Participation
In order to be eligible for participation, student-athletes must be in good standing in each of the following categories:
Academic Eligibility Requirements
Extracurricular student activities exist to provide educational experiences not otherwise provided for in academic courses. Students are expected to maintain good academic standing to be eligible to participate in extracurricular programs. Student-athletes must always keep in mind that their first priority is their school work. Many studies show that athletes can maintain a high level of performance in the classroom and on the field if they make effective use of their unscheduled time. If students are having difficulty in a specific subject, they are encouraged to attend the after school curriculum and instruction time available from 2:30-3:10pm.
In order to be academically eligible, student-athletes at North Hunterdon and Voorhees will be held to the following District and NJSIAA standards.
North Hunterdon-Voorhees District Academic Eligibility Policy (#2431):
- A student is ineligible to compete if he/she is failing two or more courses at the midpoint of a marking period. This student will become eligible when he/she is no longer failing two or more courses in that marking period.
- A student is ineligible to compete if he/she receives two or more failing marking period grades. This student will become eligible if he/she is no longer failing two or more courses at the midpoint of the following marking period.
NJSIAA Academic Eligibility Policy:
- A student participating in athletics will have completed a minimum of fifteen credits in the prior semester or thirty credits in the prior school year.
- An athlete becomes ineligible for high school athletics if he/she attains the age of nineteen prior to September 1. However, any athlete attaining age 19 on or after September 1 shall be eligible for the ensuing year.
- As an incoming student from eighth grade, there are no credit requirements for the Fall or Winter season; however, to be eligible for the Spring season all students must be passing 15.0 credits at the conclusion of the first semester.
Medical Eligibility Requirements
The athlete must have a physical examination by their medical doctor 365 days prior to the first eligible date of practice determined by the NJSIAA. This date will be announced by the Athletic Department when registration information is posted for each season. The School Medical Inspector must then review that physical and certify the student’s fitness to participate.
All forms on the ASPEN sign-up program must be completed and/or acknowledged for the athlete to be eligible to practice. This includes the Health History Update Questionnaire (HHUQ) that must be completed before each season of competition. Upon review of the HHUQ, you may be required to supply additional paperwork from your medical doctor. Certain medical conditions such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc., will require additional paperwork for permission to administer medication to your child.
Athletes must also take part in our concussion protocol by completing a Baseline IMPACT test, which is administered by the school athletic trainers. They cannot practice until this test is completed; it is valid for two years.
If your child is seen by a physician for an injury or illness, he or she must submit a signed note from the treating physician to the Athletic Trainer or Nurse stating the diagnosis, treatment, restrictions, and estimated time out of athletics before he or she is allowed to return to athletic participation. In certain instances, the school medical examiner may need to clear the athlete.
An athlete is expected to be in school each day. If a student arrives at school after 11:35 AM on a regular school day or after 9:25 AM on a shortened school day, they are ineligible for involvement in athletics that day. This may be waived with prior approval by the athletic department and/or coach for any of the reasons listed in the school handbook for excused absences.
In order to participate in a competition, as per NJSIAA regulations, an athlete must participate in six practices that take place on six different days in that season prior to the contest.
Poor attendance at practices and games may compel a coaching staff to limit an athlete’s participation in competition. A coach has the right to bench or limit the playing time of an athlete in competition if the athlete:
- Cuts a practice
- Misses practices and/or games over an extended period of time that may result in any of the following situations:
- The amount of absences has resulted in it being unsafe for the player to participate in competition.
- The amount of absences has resulted in the player being ill prepared for competition in terms of his or her technique and/or understanding of the game plan.
- The player who served as the absentee’s substitute has proven himself or herself as someone who deserves equal or more playing time.
- Violates part of an attendance policy handed out by the coach at the beginning of the season.
Behavioral Eligibility Requirements
Any athlete serving an out-of-school or in-school suspension will be ineligible to participate in a practice or contest on the days he or she is suspended. This would include a weekend, holiday break, or recess period that was bookended by suspension days. Regular and extended detentions, while not rendering an athlete ineligible on that particular day, will not be shortened or adjusted for the athlete to make a contest on time.
If a player violates a team code of conduct that was distributed by the coach at the beginning of the season, the coach has the right to bench or limit the playing time of the offending player.
Any athlete who grossly casts a negative light on the Athletic Department and/or high school may be subject to benching or removal from his or her team. This action will be at the discretion of the Athletic Director after a consultation with the coaching staff and approval from the Principal.
Sportsmanship Philosophy and Guidelines
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District believes that interscholastic competition involving member schools of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) should be governed by the basic principles of goods sportsmanship. This document has been prepared to insure that all participants have a common understanding of those basic principles.
We believe that students should be coached to play to the best of their ability and to understand that to play well is to play honorably. The promotion of sportsmanship is the obligation of all school personnel (principals, athletic directors and coaches) and is directed to the behavior of spectators, coaches and players. The desire to win is not an acceptable reason for abandoning rational behavior.
Respect should be demonstrated for an athletic opponent and for their school at all times. North Hunterdon and Voorhees will treat visiting teams and their supporters as guests and accord them the consideration all human beings deserve. Visiting schools should respect the property and dignity of their host school and its athletic teams.
Good sportsmanship is the mark of the good player:
- Do not swear or fight.
- Use self-control.
- Do nothing that will bring discredit to your school.
- Win graciously; lose without alibi.
- Accept officials’ judgment without question.
- Give the best that is in you for your team and school.
- All team cheering should be positive with no intimidating or demeaning chants, gestures, etc.
- All players must follow the Code of Behavior for Athletic Contests.
There will be no tolerance for negative statements or actions between players and coaches. This includes taunting, baiting, berating opponents, “trash talking”, or actions that ridicule or cause embarrassment to them. Any physical, verbal, written (cyber or otherwise) conduct related to race, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or religion shall not be tolerated, and could be subject to violator ejection, and may result in penalties, being assessed against your team. If such comments are heard, a penalty will be assessed immediately.
The NJSIAA Sportsmanship Rule requires that “high standards of courtesy, fair play, and sportsmanship must be featured at all high school competitions”. The Sportsmanship Rule is the heart of the NJSIAA program. Good sportsmanship, respect for rules, respect for others, and fair play are the fundamental principles that support the interscholastic athletic program. NJSIAA has made sportsmanship a priority. Statements cautioning student-athletes against unsportsmanlike conduct are read before each competition. Students are told that actions which ridicule or cause embarrassment to opponents are unsportsmanlike and a HIB violation.
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District Board of Education prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying of a student (see Policy 5512). HIB, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its students in a safe and disciplined environment. Our school environment includes our athletic teams. It is important to note these activities, whether they occur in or outside of school, can cause mental, emotional, and/or physical harm. These actions can include, but are not limited to:
- Written and/or Verbal harassment
- Physical harassment/assault
- Electronic Communication
Hazing is one form of HIB. Hazing is any ritual or activity involving harassment; abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group or remain in a group. Hazing cannot and will not be tolerated or condoned in the athletic program at North Hunterdon and Voorhees High Schools. This includes on the fields or courts, in the locker room, on the bus, on social media or at any other activity in which athletes represent North Hunterdon and Voorhees High Schools. Retaliation against anyone who assists in the investigation of a HIB incident is prohibited and can result in disciplinary action and/or removal from athletic participation.
Try-outs will be held for sports at North Hunterdon and Voorhees that have a number of prospective athletes signing up that is greater than a reasonable size roster for the given sport. While this selection can be difficult for all parties involved, it is necessary for some sports programs.
All prospective athletes will be provided a copy of the rubric used to evaluate them prior to the start of the season. These rubrics can be found on the Athletic webpage for each school. These rubrics will only exist for programs that forecast having to make cuts.
The number of tryout days will vary at the discretion of the coaches for that sport. If a prospective athlete is going to miss the tryout period, he or she must let the coach know well before the beginning of tryouts, and his or her tryout period will take place as soon as that athlete is eligible for practice.
Any athlete wishing to come out for a team after the first scheduled game of that team’s season will require approval from the Head Coach and Athletic Director. These instances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Both parenting and coaching are extremely difficult vocations. By establishing an understanding of each position, we are better able to accept the actions of the other and provide a greater benefit to children. As parents, when your children become involved in our program, you have the right to understand what expectations are placed on your child.
Communications You Should Expect From Your Child’s Coach
- Philosophy of the coach
- Expectations, rules, and goals the coach has for your child as well as for the team/season
- Locations and times of all practices and contests.
- Team requirements, special equipment, strength and conditioning programs
- Lettering criteria
- Team selection process
Communication Coaches Expect From Athletes/Parents
- Concerns regarding the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the athlete.
- Notification of any schedule conflicts in advance.
- Notification of illness or injury as soon as possible.
Playing Time and Other Concerns
Coaches are professionals; they make decisions based on what they believe to be the best for all student-athletes involved. While we expect our athletes to acknowledge this, it is understandable that they might have concerns throughout the course of the season, such as playing time, their role on the team, issues that come up between players, etc. At these times, discussion between the athlete and coach is encouraged; it is the first and integral step to understanding and resolution.
As an Athletic Department, we encourage our coaches to be proactive in situations where they suspect discontent, but it is impossible for them to know what is going on in a player’s mind. We encourage our athletes to advocate for themselves when it comes to these types of concerns. They should not feel intimidated about expressing concerns they have with their coaches nor have any fear of negative retribution. The athlete should expect an honest assessment of the situation from the coach’s point of view along with ways in which a resolution can be found. Furthermore, we feel it is imperative that the athlete relay the details of this type of meeting to his or her parents, promptly and accurately.
We understand that there are situations that may require a conference between coach and parent. When a conference is necessary, the following procedures and protocols should be used to help resolve any concerns:
Procedures and Protocols for a Meeting with a Coach
- Email the coach to set up an appointment.
- Please state a reason for the meeting and times in which you are available to meet.
- Please do not attempt to confront a coach before or after a contest or practice. These can be emotional times for both the parent and the coach. Meetings of this nature usually do not promote positive resolutions.
- If the coach cannot be reached, call the Athletic Department to set up the meeting for you.
- If either party wishes to have an Additional Coach or the Athletic Director present, please provide ample notice
- In most cases, we are going to request your child be at the meeting if it has anything to do with his or her athletic experience.
- If you wish to keep your child out of a meeting that has something to do with his or her athletic experience, then we ask that you provide a reason as to why.
- Appropriate topics for discussion during the meeting:
- The treatment of your child
- Ways to help your child improve
- Concerns about your child’s behavior and/or well-being
- What will not be discussed at the meeting:
- There will be no negotiation of playing time
- Justification of team strategy or play calling
- Other student-athletes
- Rules for the meeting:
- Leave nothing unsaid; make sure all issues are discussed.
- Say what you mean without being mean.
- After the meeting, parties may agree to disagree.
- Belligerent behavior (shouting, name-calling, profanity, etc.) is grounds for immediate termination of the meeting.
What can a parent do if the meeting with the coach did not provide a satisfactory resolution?
- Call and set up an appointment with the Athletic Director to discuss the situation.
- At this meeting, the appropriate next step can be determined.
Parent Code of Conduct
- Make sure your child understands that win or lose, you love him or her.
- Be realistic about your child’s physical ability.
- Help your child set realistic goals.
- Emphasize “improved” performance, not winning.
- Provide a safe environment for training and competition.
- Don’t relive your own athletic past through your child.
- Control your emotions at games and events.
- Be a “cheerleader” for your child and other children on the team.
- Respect your child’s coaches. Communicate with them in a positive way. Encourage others to do the same.
- Give your child “space” after contests and practices to keep their participation in the sport from becoming an overwhelming experience.
- Be a positive role model.
Be sensible, responsible and keep your priorities in order.
There is a lot more at stake than a win or loss record.
Fan Code of Conduct
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, in association with the NJSIAA, promotes interscholastic events and sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is an essential part of any athletic competition and is expected from athletes, coaches, officials and fans. As a fan/spectator of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, we want you to be an example of positive encouragement while supporting our athletes, coaches and officials. Fan behavior should be positive, respectful and encouraging of the athletes, coaches, officials and the game.
Failure to be an example of these athletic practices could result in an ejection from a particular sporting event. Any athletic official, including but not limited to, officials, athletic directors/coordinators, principals, assistant principals, site directors and anyone else in an administrative role on the site, may uphold enforcement of an ejection. The repercussions following an ejection will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and depend on the severity of the offense that led to the ejection as well as the offender’s history of behavior at sporting events.
Code of Behavior for Athletic Events
- Enthusiastically encourage your own team.
- Refrain from abusive or irritating remarks and booing.
- Accept the decisions of officials with good grace.
- Protect the safety and comfort of the players or other spectators. Don’t throw objects. The use of noise-makers, signs or banners is prohibited.
- Any person obviously and intentionally violating the letter or spirit of the code will be subject to ejection from the contest and may not be allowed to attend further athletic contests.
This code of conduct applies to both home and away events.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association
The NJSIAA is a private, non-profit, voluntary organization, which is responsible for regulating interscholastic athletics in New Jersey. The NJSIAA governs and controls all the sports programs offered to high school boys and girls.
If you are interested in specific NJSIAA policies, regulations, and specific dates, please visit www.njsiaa.org.
Both North Hunterdon and Voorhees are members of the Skyland Conference and the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Athletic Association.
- The Skyland Conference provides our school with a majority of our scheduling as well as divisional placement for our sports.
- The Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Association provides most of our athletic teams with a County Tournament.
To view our most recent North Hunterdon High School athletic schedules go to:
To view our most recent Voorhees High School athletic schedules go to:
Both scheduling programs provide you with the opportunity to have alerts regarding your specific sport sent to you electronically.
Camp participation by any athlete for any sport is totally at the discretion of the athlete and his/her family. At no time will participation at a sport specific camp, league, or summer workout be grounds for an athlete’s selection for participation in athletics at North Hunterdon or Voorhees. This includes camps held at North Hunterdon or Voorhees and any other camps or leagues in which North Hunterdon and Voorhees coaches take part. This also includes summer workouts held by coaches.
While it is understood that taking advantage of these opportunities will help a student-athlete improve his or her skills and make them better prepared for an upcoming season, participation in such events is not required. Playing time cannot be given nor withheld based on attendance at off-season camps, leagues, or summer workouts.
The Board of Education has purchased secondary loss insurance coverage to protect all participants in interscholastic sports in case of an accidental injury resulting from such participation. This coverage also applies to equipment managers, band members, cheerleaders, flag wavers, and any other approved participants.
The school’s insurance is a secondary loss insurance coverage; i.e., it will pay those expenses not covered by any other medical insurance you may have. Thus, you must submit all bills to your own insurance first. The school policy may pick up the unpaid balances up to the limits of the policy. Contact the Nurse’s office if you have any questions regarding injuries or insurance coverage.
Although this coverage is very broad, there are restrictions, limitations, and exclusions in this policy. In many situations, medical bills may not be covered in full. Parents should understand that medical expenses are their own responsibility, not the Board of Education.
All sport injuries should be immediately reported to the coach or trainer. Claim information will be taken from the student by the Nurse’s office and an insurance form with instructions will be mailed to the parent/guardian.
All bills must be submitted to the parent’s basic and major medical carriers first.
Submit itemized bills and notices received from your own insurance company showing amounts paid and balances due, or a letter of denial, along with the completed insurance form to the school’s insurance carrier.
It is your responsibility, and to your benefit, to submit the necessary papers as soon as possible as the claim cannot be considered until all papers are submitted.
Questions regarding coverage should be directed to the Nurse’s office.
The equipment issued by the school becomes the responsibility of the athlete during the season. Special care must be taken to lock all equipment in the locker/team room during practices and games. Athletes should provide their own locks and are reminded not to bring large amounts of money to school. Also, expensive jewelry should not be worn to school and left in the locker room. At the conclusion of the season, all equipment and uniforms must be returned by the athlete to the coaches. Any missing uniforms or equipment will be handled as a financial obligation; and diplomas, report cards and/or schedules will not be given out until the uniforms are returned or a fee paid.