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Attendance policy, calendar reviewed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brenda Johnson Brandt   
A school calendar for 2010-11 was adopted, and first reading of a new attendance policy was approved at the April 6 meeting of Holyoke School District Re-1J Board of Education.

Next year’s school calendar includes 173 student-teacher contact days. As a result, the board policy which requires 180 student days was waived for the upcoming year.

Attendance policy changes are extensive. The most significant change is the elimination of academic penalty related to attendance.

Students and parents/guardians will be notified by letter when a student reaches their fifth day with an absence in a semester, excluding school-related absences. At that time, a member of the attendance committee will be assigned to the student.

Tardiness has been expanded in the policy to include consequences, but not grade reduction, suspension or expulsion.

Full details in the draft policy were presented by the study committee in January and reviewed by the board at its March 16 meeting.

After receiving staff input, the attendance policy was approved on first reading last week. It will return to the April 20 meeting for final approval. Additionally, revisions to the current truancy policy were approved.

Board member Kim Killin asked about discussion students are having regarding consideration for eliminating the current exemption from taking finals.

Principal Susan Ortner said that is not part of the attendance policy, but instead falls under the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) system. She said discussion is out there, but no recommendations or decisions have been made.

Classes start Aug. 19

In the 2010-11 calendar which was adopted, students will start classes Thursday, Aug. 19, after four staff inservice days.

The last day of school for students will be Friday, May 27, when they will be dismissed at noon.

Staff requested to keep a March vacation day during the week of parent-teacher conferences, which will be Friday, March 18. The calendar also includes Friday, March 11 as a vacation day to coincide with state basketball tournaments.

Other vacations include Monday, Sept. 6, Labor Day; Friday, Oct. 22; Nov. 24-26 for Thanksgiving; noon on Dec. 21 through Monday, Jan. 3 for Christmas; Friday, Feb. 18 to coincide with state wrestling; and April 22-25, Easter.

Staff inservice days with no school for students are scheduled on the first Fridays of September, October, November, December, February, March, April and May, as well as on Monday, Jan. 3 and BOCES inservice on Monday, Sept. 27. Half-day inservices are set for the ends of the semesters, on Tuesday, Dec. 21 and Friday, May 27.

Placement of 6th graders under evaluation

Supt. Bret Miles explained the current process of evaluating the 2008 decision to move the sixth graders to the JR/SR high school. He emphasized it’s in the best interest of the district to look back on such major decisions to see if they worked.

Since March 9, there have been meetings with current JH teachers, the last two sixth grade teachers, fifth grade teachers, parents of current fifth graders and parents of current sixth graders. Additionally, test data is part of the evaluation equation.

The morning of the school board meeting, the administrative council met to review information that was collected at the parent meetings.

Miles said they’re taking a comprehensive look at the people directly affected. He added they’ve received good feedback at this point and will continue to update the board on progress.

Killin commented from one of the parent meetings, noting she would like to see an academic analysis in writing to compare trends and cite the impact on students in the elementary and JR/SR high settings.

Other business

In other business April 6, the Re-1J Board:

—accepted the resignation of HS social studies teacher Roger Brady at the end of his current teacher contract.

­—approved Jack Garrison as head HS wrestling coach for 2010-11.

—recognized gifts for the Stanley and Shirley Travis Scholarship, Justin Strode Scholarship and Holyoke Marketplace Scholarship.

—granted use of the new gym for a summer volleyball camp Aug. 2-5.

—heard from FBLA adviser Kristi Ham and members Elise Nelson, Sydney Nelson, Sarah Heermann and Whitni Redman, who told about the opportunities in FBLA and their accomplishments throughout the year.

—heard attendance reports for recent parent-teacher conferences from JR/SR High ºPrincipal Ortner. She also shared conference report numbers from the elementary school.