SSC reviews and revises school policies

Jasmine Santos, Editor-in-Chief & News Editor

The School Site Council (SSC) committee met on Feb. 20 to discuss important policies and issues including the school’s budget, TAs, Peer Tutors and Lab Assistants, hats, personal speakers, field trip permission slips and pre-arranged absence forms.

Principal Bill Atterberry reported a proposed budget increase for structural technology. The proposal of $46,633 will be used for SMART boards, 460 Chromebooks available on 16 carts for all classes on campus, as well as possibly allowing WiFi access for students throughout the school. However, these tools can only be used for instructional purposes, specifically to help the English Language Learners and students in lower socioeconomic classes.

A motion was passed to create a technology committee to lead the effort to purchase and implement the new technology into the school.

Atterberry then mentioned the marginally effective new tardy policy. He said that the improvement was very slight and that the tardy policy must be further evaluated.

New policies were discussed at the meeting as well. These policies include a more lenient hat policy wherein students will be allowed to wear any kind of hat as long as it is not obscene and it is taken off during class.

“The hat policy is really just the principals trying to have control,” Atterberry said, noting that he had never seen a real point to it other than “old men trying to display authority.”

The motion for the new policy was approved and students will be able to participate in writing it.

The TA/Tutor/Lab Assistant application form was also discussed. Baysinger brought up a concern about the lenient qualifications for becoming either a TA, a Peer Tutor, or a Lab Assistant. At this point, all three positions use the same application form that requires students to have a 2.0 GPA and no more than 18 period absences for approval.

Other concerns about the TA requirements were raised, including the lack of a common grading rubric and the appropriateness of a letter grade.

“There needs to be a distinction between tutors and TAs,” English teacher Grace Morledge said. “Giving someone a grade with no learning outcome is inappropriate.”

However, this issue was not specifically addressed in the meeting. The proposed solution was to have three separate application forms to distinguish the three positions, as well increasing the GPA requirement to 2.5 for TAs, requiring Peer Tutors to have previously passed the class they intend to tutor with an A or a B, and changing 18 period absences to no more than six period absences.

No final decision was made and the issue was placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

Atterberry also confirmed that summer school will be offered once again this summer.

An increase in use of personal speakers throughout the campus was also discussed, as these devices cause disturbances and concern for the often explicit lyrics blasted from students’ backpacks. Atterberry proposed a ban on these speakers and a motion was made and passed.

As soon as the policy becomes official and is announced to the student body, personal speakers will be confiscated and the process of disciplinary action will be followed should students refuse to cooperate.

Another topic in the agenda was field trip permission slips and pre-arranged absence forms, which at present only require teacher and parent signatures. A suggestion was made to include a grade check to determine if the student could afford to miss the period or the day. There was also a motion to have a requirement of submitting the forms two days prior to the day of the event.

Teachers might also have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ column on the pre-arranged absence form that they must sign to either allow or not allow the student to miss their class for the event in addition to the comments section in which teachers can indicate whether the student can make up the work they missed or not.

“School sports and trips are a privilege, and students need to show that their grades can handle not being in class,” junior Isabella Rodriguez said.

The next SSC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Bear Creek library, and students are invited to attend if they have opinions or feedback on any of the above issues.