Changes to Clay Community Schools 2003-2004 student handbooks received first reading at Thursday's regular board meeting. The proposed changes will be read at another board meeting before the school board votes on them.
Significant changes include attendance and suspension, weighted grades program, graduation, tuition costs, cheating and plagiarism.
"We have more options available to us that we need to utilize. An escalated policy is a common disciplinary practice. Kind of a 'three strikes and you're out' procedure," Ken Wallace, Northview High School principal, said.
Wallace, North Clay Middle School Principal Greg Linton and athletic coaches recommend a clean slate policy for eighth graders coming into the high school. Records are expunged for elementary students coming to the middle school, and the same policy ought to hold true for those coming into the high school Wallace said. The current handbook requires NCMS students to pass every core subject to play sports.
"That policy is more stringent than IHSAA (Indiana High School Athletic Association) rules," he said.
Len Fischer, school board member, said the past board had adopted that policy for a good reason, to encourage eighth graders to do their best.
If the handbook is adopted, records will be expunged.
Attendance and suspension would be based on an escalated policy.
Any student who misses five days of school or five periods of any class or two unexcused absences in any semester may be subject to suspension, expulsion, loss or driving privileges, loss of work permit and/or referral to Clay County Juvenile Probation Department. Principals will have the discretion to recommend the Alternative to Suspension Program in lieu of an out-of-school suspension.
"The current handbook does not address parental calls and conferences regarding tardiness," Wallace said.
Any student who is suspended from school for any disciplinary reason shall not be permitted to participate in co-curricular or extra-curricular activities for the length of the suspension. Any student who receives a second out-of-school suspension during an academic school year will not be permitted to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for one day for each day of suspension up to a maximum of five days following his/her return to school. Any student who receives a third out-of-school suspension during an academic year will be ineligible to participate in co-curricular or extra-curricular activities for the remainder of the school year.
Students can choose to take one of three academic tracks in Clay Community Schools. Each track is distinguished from the others by the degree of difficulty of the courses as well as the number of required credits to earn the various distinctions.
Students will be placed in a track based on the courses in which they enroll. At the end of the sixth semester, students in the Academic Honors Diploma Track will have a weight of .50 added to their GPA (grade point average). Students in the Core 40 Track will have a weight of .25 added to their GPA. It is recognized that Advanced Placement courses are much more rigorous. Therefore, beginning with the freshman class of 2003-2004, an additional weight will be added to each Advanced Placement course passed. Pre-advanced Placement Courses passed will receive an additional .167 each and Advanced Placement Courses passed will receive and additional .333.
According to state regulations, each student must complete a minimum of 40 credits of high school work to graduate instead of 38. It will be up to the principal's discretion for participation in commencement if a student has displayed unacceptable behavior. Also, wording will be removed concerning commencement requirements of attendance at Northview or Clay City High Schools.
Transfer tuition costs will increase for the 2003-2004 school year. High school costs will go from $150 to $185, middle school/junior high costs will go from $150 to $165, elementary costs will remain the same, kindergarten costs for full day will decrease from $150 to $130 and half day will decrease from $75 to $65.
NCMS and Clay City Senior/Junior High School will add a cheating and plagiarism policy to their handbooks. Consequences for the first offense would be a zero issued on the assignment or test and parents will be notified; second offense in the same class will result in a F and an administrative conference will be conducted; a third offense in the same class will result in a F for the semester.