Policy revisions on School Board agenda

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Washington Parish School Board will consider the adoption of a number of revised and several new policy files at its meeting Thursday.

The policies were presented during the Monday committee meeting by Assistant Superintendent Richard Kennedy.

The first policy deals with unexpired terms for School Board members, terms left vacant by death, resignation or other reasons. The revised policy states these vacancies must be filled within 20 days, where the policy currently says 10 days. The next revised policy is about the school calendar and breaks down the 177 days of required instructional days into minutes, a total of 63,720.

Board member continuing education, another revised policy, adds the requirement of one hour of ethics training to the six hours of training and instruction members are already required to receive annually. Kennedy said the ethics training can be completed online.

A policy on worker’s compensation was reworded and also gives the school system the authority to test employees who are injured at school for drugs or alcohol, Kennedy said. A revised policy on curriculum would allow electives to be approved locally, where they have been sent to the state for approval in the past.

The requirement to provide 50 hours of instruction during summer school to fourth- and eighth-grade students who fail the LEAP test is another policy revision and something Kennedy says the school system already does. The next revised policy states that all systems in the state must provide a full day of kindergarten instruction. A revised policy on co-curricular and extracurricular activities deals with allowing students to make up work, he said.

The minimum age for students to enroll in an adult education program was revised from 17 years to 18 years in the new policy on that program, Kennedy said. Students who are 16 or 17 years old would need to request a waiver to take part in the program. A revised policy on attendance states that students must be in attendance for a period equivalent to 167 days, he said.

Kennedy said the policy on suspension has been revised to prohibit suspending students for longer than the number of days remaining in the school year.

A revised policy on student health services deals with providing screenings for things like dyslexia and attention deficit disorder to students in the lower elementary grades, something the system has been doing for some time, Kennedy said. Wording was changed in the policy on administration of medication. In another policy, student records, language stating the records must be mailed out within 10 days of the request date was strengthened, he said.

Academic achievement, the first of several new policies to be presented, details how students in middle school can earn credits, while a credit recovery policy discusses how students who fail a credit can recover it, Kennedy said.

The final policy, unsafe school choice, says that if a student is attending a school deemed unsafe by the state, he or she has the option to transfer to another, safe school within the district, Kennedy said.

The state has not released details about what would be considered a dangerous school.

All of the proposed policies and policy revisions will be up for vote during the board’s regular meeting, to be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the School Board office.