I originally published a version of this post two years ago, but I thought that readers might find a “re-issue” helpful, especially since it’s football season:

Some students in my high school face many challenges beyond academic ones. On occasion, an athlete is among them. Since my classes are structured in a way that if students show up each day and try their best, they will pass, I seldom use an academic grade as leverage to gain work from students who want to play on sports teams. However,  I have made arrangements with our coaches to give weekly unofficial grades to athletes in areas that are equally important in class, life, and in athletics (we worked together to identify these areas): leadership, cooperation, respect, perseverance, and preparation.

Coaches have decided to take these grades as seriously, if not more seriously, than the academic grade athletes will receive in my class. Any teacher who has ever taught a student highly invested in an extracurricular activity knows you can’t top that sort of leverage!

Here’s the sheet that I use (it has two copies on the same page and we’ll cut it in half). Student athletes give it to their coach each Friday.

Several other teachers use this same sheet and process.   And it works very well….