Elementary students missing school will soon be allowed to make up their work, no matter the reason for their absence.

The change in the policy had been requested by elementary school principals. Before, only students with an excused absence were allowed to make up work. 

The first reading of the change to policy 6.200 was approved by the Cumberland County Board of Education during its October meeting. More changes are expected, however, as high school principals prepare to offer recommendations on make-up work for high school students. 

The policy committee will meet Nov. 7 at 4:30 p.m. at Central Services, 368 Fourth St.

Other policy changes unanimously approved on first reading during the October meeting were:

•Role of the Board of Education, policy 1.101, TSBA model policy approved with the addition of the statement, “The board shall strive to provide the best educational opportunities possible for all children.”

•Family Life Education, policy 4.213, to provide a family life education program that conforms to state guidelines, including providing information about human reproduction, responsibilities and consequences related to sexual activity, and promoting sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, with age-appropriate education for students in seventh and eighth grade and high school wellness classes. Parents may choose to exempt their child from these sessions

•Teacher Effect Data, policy 5.1141, to replace the existing policy with a statement that specific teacher effect data is not a public record. Under law, information on the value-added test scores of a specific teacher in third through eighth grade can only be made available to the specific teachers, board members, and the teacher’s appropriate administrators

•Code of Behavior and Discipline, policy 6.300, to include that students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten would use alternative disciplinary practices, such as a time-out, with students given one minute of time out per year of age

•Child Abuse and Neglect, policy 6.409, to add that faculty and staff have a legal responsibility to report suspected child abuse and neglect, and failure to do so may subject the employee to criminal charges or possible litigation. It also adds that the principal is not in violation of any law by failing to inform parents or guardians if a child is interviewed as part of an abuse investigation

The following policies were approved on second and final reading:

•News Releases, News Conferences and Interviews, policy 1.503, to add the director of schools will notify all board members of pending press conferences. 

•Crisis Management, policy 3.203, to include annual training for all school employees in crisis management procedures. 

•Separation Practices for Tenured Teachers, policy 5.200, to add that teachers may pursue an appeal of a suspension according to the procedures outlined in state law

•Emergency Preparedness Planning and Training, policy 3.202, a new policy taken from the former Emergency Plans and Crisis Management policy. This policy outlines the fire and safety drills, armed intruder drills and automated external defibrillator drills to be conducted at each school during the school year

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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