Time Card Process Needs Revision

Ryan Erickson-King, staff writer

Rather than taking a traditional physical education course, sophomores have the option to participate in the “Athletic PE Program,” which requires student-athletes to have their after-school sport practice and competition attendance confirmed by coaches through the use of weekly time cards.

Unfortunately, the procedures for this program are inefficient and an unnecessary burden to both athletes and coaches.

There are 3 steps to the process; a cumbersome, time-consuming ritual neither the athletes nor the coaches enjoy.  Given the myriad of expectations saddled on today’s students, as well as the mountain of thankless work plaguing our criminally underpaid coaches, this additional red tape is viewed as another needless hoop through which to jump in the district’s web of bureaucracy.

“I don’t think it is ideal for the players or the coaches to print out, sign and turn in the time sheets every week,” agreed sophomore Noam Ayalon.

“It could take a while too, to get your sheet signed and turned in because lots of people would have to do the same thing as me and the line could get really long,” said sophomore Gabriel Deane-Grundman.

The weekly time sheet is even more exasperating for the coach. They must verify each time card, comparing what the athlete has listed with their own records, taking time away from practice, or perhaps adding more time onto the coach’s daily routine. There are teams with literally dozens of sophomores signed up for the program.  Such an added burden is unfair to coaches who are already underpaid and receive no additional compensation relative to how many of their athletes are using the athletic experience to earn PE credit.

Let’s not even get started on the boondoggle the district is pulling on the backs of its coaches in order to eliminate the cost of offering sections of physical education during the school day.  While Acalanes district coaches are among the lowest paid in the Bay Area with stipends that equate to a buck or 2 per hour of service, they are now put in the position of providing an experience equivalent to a semester of course work.

Late time cards are also a common and persistently tiresome problem. “The number of time sheets coaches have to sign at once can double if the player was unable to get the previous weeks’ sheet signed and turned in,” said JV soccer coach Miguel Camacho. “Every player would bring me more than 1 to sign.”

The time sheets are “hard to remember,” according to Deane-Grundman, even though he understands that “the coach would have to check and sign multiple time sheets and sometimes for multiple people” as a result.

All of this trouble could be avoided if the school changed the system for recording practice and competition participation. A much better method would be to have a monthly or seasonal timesheet system or to eliminate paper and move to a universal digital format for taking attendance. This would reduce the time the players and coaches spend signing and filling out time sheets and eliminate the nuisance of dealing with players who forget to turn them in.

While it may not address the exploitation of our coaches as they continue to work with little compensation under the pressure of a community with extraordinarily high expectations for performance success as well as character growth among its athletes, at the very least it may give back a few precious hours they could be spending with their own families.

Overall, having a monthly system, full season system, or an online system would help players and coaches spend less time doing tedious work.