School Board handles end-of-year business

Members of the Haywood County School Board dealt with budget amendments and policy additions and changes as part of their end-of-year business meeting. Also, Superintendent Teresa Russell recognized Haywood High School graduate Anne Marie Sceals as the school’s newest member of the 30+ Club. She scored a 30 on the ACT test to earn membership into this prestigious club. She is the daughter of Valerie and Barry Sceals. Anne Marie plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University in the fall and major in Physical Therapy.

The first order of business was the board’s approval of the fiscal year 2017 Local Consolidate Application for IDEA/ESEA. This approval also authorizes the Superintendent to file any necessary revisions, addenda, or transfer requests. This involves the paperwork for all federal funds and Title projects. Board employees completed the application and it has been approved by the state.

The next business was the consideration of changes and additions to school board policies as recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association. This was the first reading on these changes/additions.

Policy 1.407 – School District Records – This policy was updated to address the new changes to the Tennessee Public Records Act. The new law requires districts to incorporate additional information in their records policies and identify the individuals within each district that are responsible for handling open records requests. Responsible for records in the Haywood County Schools is Art Garrett, Chief Operations Officer.

Policy 3.202 – Emergency Preparedness Plan – This policy was updated to address the new requirement to conduct a CPR and AED drill in schools that have an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). A new law requires schools to perform an annual drill for employees and students to ensure they are aware of the steps that will be taken in the event of an emergency.

Policy 3.219 – Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) – New Policy – This policy is the result of several districts requesting TSBA to develop a model drone policy. The new policy outlines basic operating requirements and emphasizes that the individual operator is ultimately responsible for ensuring safe and legal operations of all unmanned aircraft systems. The policy also says visitors and students are prohibited from operating drones on district property. District employees are allowed to operate a drone on district property with the approval of the District Administration.

Policy 4.605 – Graduation requirements – This policy was updated to reflect the changes to TCA 49-6-6001, which currently requires students to take the ACT Suite of assessments in grades 8, 10, and 11. Public Chapter 844 removed the testing requirements in grades 8 and 10, and allows students to retake the ACT if funds are available.

Policy 4.700 – Testing Programs – This policy was updated to reflect a change in the ability of parents to access questions and answers on their student’s state-required tests. Public Chapter 844 requires districts to publicly disseminate how parents can access their student’s questions and answers.

Policy 4.804 – Religious Content of Courses – New Policy – This policy was updated to reflect the enactment of Public Chapter 660, which requires districts to adopt a policy regarding the appropriate inclusion of religion in local curriculum and instruction materials. The changes indicate how religion should be addressed in the classroom. Public Chapter 660 also requires districts to allow public comment before adoption of the policy. Finally, a course syllabus must be made publicly available for all grades six through 12 social studies, science, math, and English language arts courses. It must include standards, objectives, topics covered, major assignments, and field trips.

Policy 6.204 – Attendance of Non-Resident Students – This policy was updated to reflect the changes made by Public Chapter 882, authorizing boards of education to admit students from outside their respective school system at any time without approval of LEA. Previously, students were required to receive permission from sending LEA within two weeks from the start of school. Districts can still require non-resident students to apply by a specific date or establish agreements with other school districts.

Policy 6.304 – Student Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying, Cyber-bullying and Intimidation – This policy update adds additional procedural requirements for bullying investigations. Once a bullying report is received, the district must initiate an investigation within 48 hours and complete the investigation within 20 calendar days unless appropriate documentation can be produced justifying a longer investigation period. The law also requires districts to immediately notify the parents/legal guardians of a student involved in an act of harassment, intimidation, bullying, or cyber bullying.

Policy 6.4031 – Pediculosis (Head lice) – Upon requests, the TSBA has written a model policy for Pediculosis (Head Lice). It includes in it the update that ensures all subscribers have a current policy in place. The TSBA recommends that the school board reviews the policy with the school Health Supervisor.

Policy 6.411 – Student Wellness – This policy was updated to reflect the new physical activity standards. Students in grades K-6 are required to receive certain periods of non-structured physical activity per day, while students in grades 7-12 are required to receive ninety (90) minutes of physical activity per week. This policy can be specially tailored to meet the needs of each district.

Policy 6.415 – Student Suicide Prevention – New Policy – This policy was created due to the enactment of Public Chapter 623. This new law requires all employees of the school district to attend the annual in-service training on suicide prevention. Additionally, each district must adopt a policy on suicide prevention that contains procedures relating to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.

After discussion about replacing retiring members on the Disciplinary Hearing Authority, board members asked to table this discussion until the July meeting. Superintendent Russell agreed to their request.

Board members also approved the Superintendent’s request to allow the district to operate under a continuation budget until the passage of the 2016-17 county budget by the Haywood County Commission.

The next school board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on July 12.