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District board does its homework

With school out for the summer, Tuesday night’s Farmington R-7 Board of Education meeting focused on handbooks and policy revisions.

The board approved a revised alcohol and drug policy in regards to extracurricular activities.

Pat Burns, activities director for the district, explained to the board the policy dealing with alcohol/drug use by an athlete was not “equal” from one sport to the next. As it was in place, students were immediately dismissed from the team when an offense occurred.

Depending on when the incident happened, a student would miss either “a whole season or just a couple of games”, said Burns.

The new policy presented by Burns would, on the first offense, have a student suspended from 30 percent of the maximum number of scheduled games. Burns gave an example of a basketball team, which would play a 16 game, three tournament schedule for a total of 25 games. The 30 percent would be 7.5 games, which would round up to an eight-game suspension. If the suspension occurs at the end of a season, it would carry over into the next sport or activity that student participates in.

The report prepared by Burns for the board also says that, for eligibility to be reinstated, the student will be required to attend a counseling session. A second offense would have the student suspended for 365 days from games, contests or activities and would also require the student to attend a counseling session.

Board member Angie Hahn asked Burns what type of counseling they had considered the student should attend. Burns said he and Cindy Presnell, director of student services, have talked with district lawyers about the legal issues and that they had approved the final draft.

While Burns stated this policy takes a firmer stance than those from similar schools around the state, he feels that giving the student a chance to remain a part of the team is an important aspect.

“If (the student) can come back to the team, that can be a positive influence for them,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the new policy.

In other business, the board placed on 30-day review a proposal from students at Farmington Middle School to change the name of their mascot. Principal Dr. Dorothy Winslow introduced Student Council sponsor Nikki Asher and students Kaitlyn Whitner and Maddie McMillian to the board.

The current mascot for the school is a Squire — which, according to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, is the “shield-bearer or armor-bearer of a knight”. The mascot name was selected many years ago when Harold Wright was the principal. The students told the board they had polled their classmates and a total of 83 percent approved the name change from Squire to Knights.

The board placed on a ten-day review a number of changes and revisions for the 2008-09 district handbooks. Presnell highlighted the proposed changes with the board. The board will hold a special meeting on June 27 at noon after they have reviewed the changes.

In other reports, ICC/Director of testing Roblyn Hatch gave a report on the Mastery tests taken by the district’s first- and second-graders this past school year. The test were given in place of the Terra Nova and were prepared by Hatch and Instruction Curriculum Coordinator Kim Amsden to “test what we teach our kids (towards) the curriculum and the state standards”, Hatch explained. Superintendent Dr. W.L. Sanders complimented Hatch, Amsden and the elementary principals and teachers for a “good first year” for this testing program.

In construction updates, the board approved a change order in the amount of $10,349 for a fire barrier at the new Middle School addition. The board also approved an Essential Technology Pilot Program for 12 classrooms and a computer lab at the high school. This pilot program will assess the equipment being considered by the district for the technology upgrades. The total cost for this pilot program is $33,989. All of these projects are part of the $16 million, no tax increase bond issue passed by voters in April of 2006.

The Heartland Hero was announced by Assistant Superintendent Jeff Williams. Farmington graduate Sydney Winslow was honored for her work with the fifth-eighth grade summer school program.

Ron Farrow was announced as the Featured Teacher. Farrow is a music instructor at Lincoln Intermediate and Williams said Farrow can make “any student enjoy music” and that he is also preparing his students to be “successful in life”.

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