School Board Policy committee covers a plethora of subjects

A meeting of the policy committee of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board was held on Tuesday, September 16 at approximately 9:30 a.m.

Policy committee chairperson Rose Dominguez, along with members Eric Dangerfield, Leonard "Tank" Genco, Robert Potts, and Al Link were all present.

First on the agenda was the issue of public participation during school board meetings. Several of the members, including Ms. Dominguez and Mr. Link in particular, stated that although they are very much in favor of public input during a meeting, perhaps a concerned parent or persons needs may be met more expeditiously if they follow a "chain of command" before approaching the board during a meeting. A member of the public who was present interjected that she herself had tried that approach, and it proved to be unsuccessful for her, as she requested a meeting with the superintendent or his designee a couple of months ago and has not had it yet. Board Member Danny Ridgel stated that he felt public input or comments should be limited to agenda items only during the meeting. A motion was made by Genco to refer the issue of public input to the school board attorneys and to get a clear picture on how to handle this issue. Genco was however, adamant about the fact that he is not against public input, and wanted to make it clear that he is all for this practice. The motion passed with Al Link being the only opposition, stating that the board has been over this issue before, and he finds it redundant to do so again.

Absences and excuses

A motion was made by Dangerfield and seconded by Genco to approve the revised policy as it pertains to absences and excuses. The motion was passed unanimously. Under the current policy, absences will be excused on the basis of state and parish approved reasons for absences, such as:

*Personal illness

*Extreme illness in immediate family

*Death in the immediate family

*Recognized religious holidays

*School sponsored activities

*Extenuating circumstances

The policy further states that a written excuse must be presented from a parent, legal guardian or attending physician. MD excuses are to be sent seven days following visit to the doctor. All excuses must include the first date of treatment and discharge date. Students will have the opportunity within three days of return to make up missed work including tests. If the absence is deemed unexcused, no make up work will be given. A zero will be given for any missed test and averaged into the students grade.

Employee Promotion policy

A motion was also made and passed to approve a revised employee promotion policy. According to the revised policy, all promotions are based on a recommendation of the superintendent and all employees considered for promotion must possess the appropriate certification issued by the Louisiana Department of Education for said position. Principals who are newly appointed to a school will remain at that school for a period of three years at which time they may request a transfer to another school. However, the superintendent may recommend a transfer if it is in the best interest of the school system.

School Dress Code

Another agenda item that met with considerable discussion was school dress code. It was brought to the attention of assistant superintendent Thomas Bellavia that a couple of board members had received several calls from schools as well as parents regarding various uniform violations. Although most cited were not significant violations, board members agreed that all schools should adhere to dress code as closely as possible, and that the principal should ultimately be the one to determine the severity of the uniform violation. Assistant Superintendent Bellavia moved that these issues be referred to the discipline committee which will meet later in the year. Motion passed without opposition.

Supplemental Education Services

Chief Academic Officer Melissa Stilley addressed the committee to ask they consider adoption of a Supplemental Educational Services policy.

Supplemental Education Services, (SES) are additional academic instruction in reading, language arts/English and /or mathematics that are designed to increase the academic achievement of students in schools in need of improvement. These services may include academic assistance such as tutoring, remediation and other educational interventions that are consistent with the content and instruction used by the Tangipahoa Parish School Board and which are aligned with the State of Louisiana's academic content standards. In keeping with provisions of the "No child left behind" act of 2001, all supplemental educational services shall be provided outside of the regular school day, before or after school, on weekends, or in the summer and shall be of high quality, research based and specifically designed to increase student academic achievement. Stilley went on to explain that Roseland Elementary was an SES school last year, and has as of this year is no longer required to participate. She stated a written policy was being implemented to be placed in the handbook. The policy for SES was adopted without opposition.

Health Services

The last three items on the policy committee agenda centered around policies which deal specifically with Student Health Services. Assistant Superintendent Thomas Bellavia stated that two policies needed to be revised; policy JGC (Student Health Services) and JGCD, (Administration of Medication during school hours. These two were approved with revisions without opposition. The third and last agenda item was adoption of policy JGFG, which deals with illness and accidents. This policy governs and provides guidelines on how accidents and sudden illnesses should be handled by staff and personnel at schools.

All items approved during the policy committee will be brought before the full board at the next regular meeting for final approval.

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