Archive for Thursday, April 14, 2005

Change in policy to allow seniors to attend LHS on part-time basis

April 14, 2005

Seniors entering their eighth semester of school at Lansing High School can apply to attend on a part-time basis beginning in spring semester 2006.

The Lansing School Board on Monday night approved a change in district policy allowing part-time attendance for qualifying seniors in the spring semester. While the district has allowed early graduation in the past, this is the first time it has allowed part-time status for seniors in their final semester.

The policy would free qualifying students to pursue college coursework, practical job experience or vocational education.

"Kids are growing up more quickly than they ever have before," said LHS principal Steve Dike, who presented the proposed policy. "They're exposed to a whole lot more opportunities, and I would hate to think that we're standing in the way of them moving forward."

As approved, the policy would allow seniors on track for graduation to apply for part-time status if they meet several criteria. Students would have to have approval from both their parents and the principal.

Among the requirements are attending high school classes during consecutive blocks of time each day; if a student wanted to participate in athletics, he or she would have to attend classes at the end of the day.

"This is a very common approach in many schools," said Randal Bagby, district superintendent, who noted that the focus in education should not be about "doing time."

Before the board approved the policy on a 6-0 vote - board member Stuart Lyon was absent from the meeting - board members Brian Bode and Craig Gephardt raised questions about including a requirement that there be some kind of accompanying academic or vocational requirement outside of the high school for students gaining part-time status.

"There's nothing in this policy that keeps a kid from going to Petro Deli and smoking four hours a day," Bode observed.

Though acknowledging such a possibility, school officials said it was their opinion that students who would opt for part-time status likely would be high academic achievers or otherwise good students.

LHS vice principal Mike Bogard said his research indicated that about 10 to 14 percent of a senior class would opt for part-time status in any given year. He said administrators in other districts told him the majority of seniors savored their time at the top of a high school's pecking order and wanted to stay as full-time students the entire year.

In other action Monday, the board:

¢ Heard a report from teacher Susan Murphy on the New Decisions program for at-risk high school students.

¢ Approved a resolution authorizing Piper Jaffray, the district's bond adviser, to begin work on offering $23.6 million worth of bonds for sale. The bonds, approved last week by district voters, would be used to finance construction of an elementary school and high school auditorium.

¢ Approved a motion allowing administrators to seek bids for roof work at Lansing Elementary School and the Sallie Zoll building.

¢ Approved a motion allowing administrators to seek bids for work on parking lots at Lansing High School, Middle School, Intermediate School and Elementary School.

¢ Renewed a contract for copying services with Unisource.

¢ Approved dismissing school May 16 for Lansing Middle School students as a reward for their performance on the Kansas assessment tests.

¢ Approved paying $8,283 in dues to the Kansas Association of School Boards. The board also approved paying $1,100 to the association for its annual legal services contract.

¢ Approved a request to create an assistant cheerleading sponsor position at Lansing High School. The position existed in the district's supplemental salary schedule but had not been previously filled.

¢ Accepted the resignation of Stacey Williams, afterschool tutoring supervisor, and Tim St. Martin, custodian.

¢ Approved the appointment of Felecia Planco as a fourth-grade teacher for 2005-2006 year and Joel Witham to the custodial staff.

¢ Met in executive session for 10 minutes to discuss negotiations.

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