Southeast-Cherokee has accepted an invitation to join the Three Rivers League. Southeast High School currently enrolls 182 students and expects to eventually level off at around 120 students. While making the transition to being a smaller district, we are using a “Students First” approach and that includes doing what is best for our students in extracurricular activities.
Southeast is a founding member of the Cherokee-Neosho-Crawford League, but the makeup of our district has changed from other members, especially in recent years. Per KSHSAA, this school year every public high school in the CNC has 25% to 70% more students than Southeast. We expect that gap to continue to widen. In several team sports, opposing schools routinely have rosters 50% larger than ours, and occasionally twice our size. To get their own students participation time in team sports, most CNC schools expect to play 7th grade “A”, 7th grade “B”, 8th grade “A”, 8th grade “B”, and “C/mixed” games at the junior high level, and Varsity, Junior Varsity and “C” games at the high school level. Lower participation levels makes it a challenge for Southeast to fill all of these rosters in most sports, often forcing students to “play up” before they are ready, which has driven some students away from those activities.
The eleven schools that currently make up the Three Rivers League voted unanimously to invite Southeast into their league. That tells us that they understand our situation. Many of them can relate as they too have experienced changes in their enrollment. Plus, we fill a need for them. The TRL has six smaller schools, but only has five larger high schools that average 140 students – similar to where we believe SHS will eventually be.
Details of the transition are still being worked out but no changes will be made this school year due to the affiliation change. 2017-18 may see a blend of scheduling with both CNC and TRL schools before making the full transition in all sports to TRL in 2018-19. Once we are a full member of the TRL, we expect to continue to compete against CNC schools as a part of our non-league schedule.
It is our hope that competing with schools that resemble our own enrollment prompts reluctant students to seek opportunities to participate and uncover abilities they do not yet know they have.
Superintendent, USD 247 Southeast-Cherokee