New school year brings handbook changes
By: Amanda Hill Bond, Publisher
Students, teachers and parents started getting back into routine when Pickett County Schools started Friday, August 9th.
For the 532 students enrolled in the PCK8, many changes have taken place. Class will begin at 8 a.m., if a student is not in class at that time, they will be considered tardy. School will be from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. with buses loading at 3 p.m. and car riders dismissed at 3:10.
The school system is transitioning into the state mandated Common Core Standards and Response to Intervention Plan, which means that there is a consistant and clear understanding of what students are expected to learn so that teachers and parents know what they need to do to help.
Grades K-3 will have the first 90 minutes of class with uninterrupted reading and language arts. The classes are also structured with more hands on in the classroom and more group time. Grades 4th-8th will have four classes a day with academic subjects getting approximately 100 minutes a period. Related art periods like computer, library, PE will only be 45 minutes. There will also be 45 minutes of enrichment in each grades individual time frame schedule. There will be an incentive program every nine weeks for students based on grades and attendance.
The lunchroom policies have changed and students will not be allowed to charge extra or go on field trips if there is a balance of $25 or more. Lunch price for full price is $1.75, reduced price-$1.35, breakfast price for full is $1.10 and reduced price is .80. Lunchroom account notices will be sent home with students at least twice a month.
There will also be a change in the Code of Conduct which will correspond to the Level I discipline option in which the student’s misbehavior interferes with classroom procedure. The Warning Board Behavior Management Plan will be implemented for only grades 5-8.
According to school administrators Principal Kenny Tompkins and Vice-Principal Patricia Garrett, teachers observed a warning board behavior program in other school systems and decided to implement a pilot program here which was used during the 2012-2013 school year. During that time, it was at the discretion of each individual teacher on whether or not to use the warning board. With the school board's approval of the 2013-2014 handbook changes during the August 12th meeting, each teacher is now mandated to follow the Warning Board policy for the Code of Conduct guidelines.
T.C.A. 49-6-4014 states, "The principal of each school shall apply the Behavior and Discipline Code uniformly and fairly to each student at the school without partiality or discrimination."
The Warning Board policy will consist of a list of behavior codes which include tardiness, lack of teacher respect, cheating/lying. If a teacher feels that a student has exhibited any of the behavior codes, it will be documented on the student's individual warning board sheet, which allows up to seven marks. Consequences include but are not limited to loss of field trips, achievement day, ISS along with parental contact and conference to be included on specific marks the student receives. The documents will be kept of file in the principal's office for parental viewing. The Handbook also states that if at any time a student has been placed in Alternative School, they will be excluded from any field trips for the remainder of the year.
There is a large number of freshman for the PCHS this year with total enrollment (grades 9-12) of 242, that is an increase of 39 students from last year.
There are a few changes to policies and procedures for students. Head gear (hats) will no longer be allowed during instructional time. Band-Aids will not be allowed to cover piercings/spacers that are in anything other than ears. Portable radios, iPods or MP3 players are not acceptable at school.
New teachers will be featured in next week’ edition of the PRESS.