02/08/05 — Board of eductication fine tunes school policies

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Board of eductication fine tunes school policies

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 8, 2005 1:58 PM

Several new and revised school policies were approved by the Wayne County Board of Education on Monday night.

Guidelines for pupil assignment and transfer procedures, the use of tobacco products, and teacher-career status were fine-tuned by the board. Two new policies were also introduced to the board last week for inclusion, relating to teacher's at-home use of computers for business purposes and a change in quality points used to determine class ranking.

The policies were presented to the school board last month for review. At committee meetings held last week, the board was asked to include the new policies.

Changes in dates were the only revisions made to the existing transfer policy. Under the new policy, the date to publicize the number of spaces available for students in each school was changed from March 31 to May 31. Instead of April 1-April 30 being the time period in which schools with available spaces will accept transfer requests, that period will now be June 1-30.

In the previous version of the policy, parents applying for student transfer would be notified by mail of their case status by June 30. That date will now be July 31.

Also, the last day the central administration office will accept transfer requests for schools that have reached capacity was moved from June 30 to July 31.

The school system's stand on use of tobacco products was also slightly changed. Added to the smoke-free schools policy was a statement that the school board "supports state laws that prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products by minors. The Board also supports state and federal laws that prohibit or limit the use of tobacco products in school buildings ad other places designated by the Board."

The policy also says that school principals will post signs in locations that adequately notify staff, students and visitors about the policy against the use of tobacco products on school grounds and in school buildings.

A clarification was also made to a policy regarding career status of any teacher who either leaves the profession or the school system and later returns. The policy now states that in such cases, the teacher will be required to serve a one-year probationary period.

As for the two added policies, both are in compliance with NC Wise, the new state system for recording such information as attendance and student grades. The school system already had a policy for employee use of computers, but now stipulates criteria regarding at-home use by teachers for school business.

Under the state policy, teachers will be the only designated users allowed to enter grades and keep attendance on the computer program. The system will be password-secure and each teacher will have to sign an acceptable use every year, indicating whether he plans to access NC Wise at home.

The system is designed to reduce the risk of unauthorized users to access the confidential information or change grades. It is also a safeguard against NC Wise being compromised.

The second policy concerns quality points given for each course grade, which in turn are used to determine class ranking.

The new system, which falls in line with related policies adopted earlier this year by the Department of Public Instruction, slightly changes the points given to number grades. The school system will also be adding several honors classes at the high school level in math, science, and career and technical education.

The NC Wise system is expected to be fully in place at all schools in Wayne County this month. Staff members have been training to help ease the transition.

Steve Taylor, the superintendent of schools, told the board Monday night that he had received a call on Friday acknowledging Wayne County for having the first error-free course conversion to NC Wise.

Taylor credited administrative assistant Patricia Jones for leading the local conversion effort.