New policy may prohibit use of tobacco in school buildings
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jun 30, 2010 | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Trigg County Board of Education, at its Thursday night meeting, heard a first reading of a new policy that would prevent tobacco use by employees in school-owned buildings or vehicles.

Currently, the board doesn’t have a policy concerning the use of tobacco by staff members. Trigg County School Superintendent Tim McGinnis recommended the change and said smoking during school hours causes disruptions.

“We have a district wellness committee made up of teachers and support staff,” McGinnis said. “They made a recommendation … that we need a smoke-free campus.”

Athletic events wouldn’t be included in the policy. A second reading of that and other policy changes will be heard at the next meeting, where McGinnis said the board will listen to proposed procedure changes.

McGinnis said the board might also look at school’s cell phone policy. While the code of conduct says students can have cell phones as long as they’re turned off, the old board policy from 2004 bans students from bringing in cell phones at all unless they’re involved in an emergency organization like a fire department, McGinnis added.

“It’s not going to have any impact on the kids, we’re just going to have a policy to match our practice,” McGinnis told the Cadiz Record the next day.

Faye Stevens, secondary instructional supervisor for Trigg County Schools, updated the board on the Trigg County High School Study group and the recommendations it came up with.

The group, which consists of both school and public representatives, was formed in February with the goal of providing recommendations to improve the students’ transition to post-secondary education, with higher ACT scores as one metric.

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it right, we need to do it intentionally,” said McGinnis.

Among the main recommendations was to have the board look at changing scheduling of classes at Trigg County High School, where students currently take four courses on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and four different classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Stevens indicated that it would be equivalent to 24 hours worth of classes in a college setting.

The group’s recommendations are still in draft form, but the members hope to increase the level of college preparedness in high school, said McGinnis.

Beth Sumner, assistant superintendent of instruction for Trigg County Schools, reported on 2009 non-academic data. At 89.58 percent, the graduation rate was somewhat higher in 2009 than it was in 2008, when it was 85.99 percent. In 2009, the state average was 83.91 percent.

The attendance rate for the district rate in 2009 was 94.99 percent, slightly higher than the state average of 94.18 percent, while the transition to adult life rate, a measure of how many graduate went on to higher education, the military or employment, was at 92.09 percent, somewhat lower than the state average of 94.37 percent.

The board also unanimously approved a first payment of $129,482 for the vocational school re-roofing and HVAC installation project. McGinnis said they expect the project to be completed before the beginning of the school year.

In other board actions, the board unanimously approved school fees at the same rate as last year, unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA) between the school and the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative (WKEC) and unanimously approved $5,000 for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

The board also acknowledged the success of the school district’s “Project Lead the Way” program. The PLTW, a pre-engineering program, had the highest overall scores in the state on two parts of the end-of-course exam.

McGinnis, whose last day is today, attended his last school board meeting, and each member expressed their appreciation for his hard work as superintendent. Tomorrow, Travis Hamby, currently the assistant superintendent for personnel and operations, will take over as superintendent.

The board then went into executive session to discuss pending litigation.
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