Sunday, October 17, 2021

Policy of attendance at the tables of the Board of Education | News, Sports, Jobs

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CHARLES TOWN — After a lengthy discussion Monday evening, the Jefferson County Board of Education voted in a rare unanimous vote to table the approval of an attendance policy that had been presented several weeks ago before being sent to the public for comment. Ideas and revisions were exchanged between board members and members of a committee formed to draft the policy during the Aug. 12 regular meeting of the BOE. Despite that discussion, revisions that were made did not meet the expectations of several of the board members who raised multiple questions Monday evening.

Board of Education tables attendance policy | News, Sports, Jobs Several concerns revolved around the mandate in the policy, requiring action on behalf of school personnel when students are absent for multiple days without an excuse.

Laurie Ogden also questioned what qualifications were required for two proposed positions to help enact the policy, wondering if sending school personnel to the homes of students was a safe course of action. Gary Kable was the only board member who seemed at all inclined to approve the attendance policy.

Ogden “We may not have people to enact this policy,” said Donna Joy, who asked how the staff was expected to do so many steps that are included in the policy when they are already short employees.

“You’ve got a good start,” Kable said. “You just need to go with it and see how it goes.” Superintendent Bondy Gibson also provided the board members with information on a plan of action to address items needing corrective action within the guidance counseling offices at both Washington and Jefferson high schools. An audit done earlier this year by the State of West Virginia showed multiple shortfalls in both schools.

Joy Eventually, though, Kable joined the other board members in voting to table the issue, at least until a conversation could be had with the prosecuting attorney of Jefferson County regarding what support or suggestions that office could give to the school personnel when investigating chronic absences.

However, Gibson said the problems that were discovered were not about the people doing the work, but about the need for Jefferson County to evolve as a system. She shared a plan that will begin to address everything from students whose grades were entered into the grading system incorrectly to ensuring upcoming seniors have the correct amount of credits for graduation. In addition, she said each child will have a face-to-face meeting with their guidance counselor — something that should have already been happening, but was not. Eventually, though, Kable joined the other board members in voting to table the issue, at least until a conversation could be had with the prosecuting attorney of Jefferson County regarding what support or suggestions that office could give to the school personnel when investigating chronic absences.

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