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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco students to see new rules on make-up work, cheating



The continued rise of online education has prompted the Pasco County school district to propose revisions in its student code of conduct to reflect the reality of the medium.

District staff wants to make clear that students are expected to do their own work, and not have someone else sitting at the computer completing the materials. As a result, they're adding to the section on academic integrity a new example of unacceptable behavior: "Willfully or knowingly taking an online course or examination on behalf of another person, or allowing someone to take an online course or examination for you."

Student Services director Melissa Musselwhite explained that the change reflects "what our experiences have been" with virtual schooling, and the desire to curtail it if possible.

Another proposed amendment to the code of conduct aims to clarify the responsibility students have when they've missed school.

In the past, the rules required students to ask teachers for makeup work within two class meetings of an excused absence, and return it within a "reasonable" amount of time determined by the teacher. The recommended new wording offers more flexibility to both students and teachers. It reads: 

"Students will be given a minimum of two (2) calendar days per day or period of absence to make up all tests, assignments and related work. Students may be given additional time as stipulated on their T/IEP or based on teacher discretion."

The staff does not put forth any alterations to the rules for unexcused absences, after having failed to convince the School Board of such an idea a year ago.

Most of the other suggested changes to the code are less substantive, primarily aimed at cleaning up language, eliminating redundancy or aligning the wording with state law and rules. A few pieces are moved to the district pupil progression plan.

Musselwhite said her office plans to find new ways to circulate the code to parents and students once it's edited and approved, so more people read and understand what's in it. The code is "a most important document that people don't really pay attention to" until it's too late, she said, expressing hope that more families will take the time to go through it.

See the draft document, which the School Board will discuss at a workshop Tuesday, for more details.

[Last modified: Thursday, January 14, 2016 3:03pm]


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