Sunday, February 18, 2018
Education

Pasco board members criticize revision for school absences

LAND O'LAKES — A proposal that would allow students with unexcused absences to make up work and possibly receive full credit drew a visceral reaction Tuesday from Pasco County School Board members.

Presented by a special committee looking for ways to boost attendance, the idea was seen as a way to help address the district's absenteeism problem.

In 2012-13, more than one-third of Pasco high school students missed 20 or more days. Many of those absences were unexcused.

The committee, made up of top administrators, teachers, principals and other staff, proposed giving students full or partial credit in the event of an unexcused absence, and making it part of the 2015-16 student code of conduct.

Under the current code, students are guaranteed the right to make up work for excused absences only.

"I'm not going to vote for anything where the kid gets a 100 percent for an unexcused absence. That just floors me," board chairman Steve Luikart said at a workshop Tuesday. "I know what a zero does to a kid; it just devastates him. But I also understand that if I can miss math class tomorrow and get another day to study for that test, I'm going to do it."

Board member Cynthia Armstrong agreed that the proposal discounts the importance of being in class.

"I see a total train wreck," she said.

Carrie Morris, the student services senior supervisor, who gave the presentation, defended the chance for students to make up their work as being "in line with our vision as a district."

The committee suggested other, less controversial changes to the student code, including a policy to hold high school students accountable for missing too many classes and an amendment to the rule regarding extended absences. Under the latter proposal, a parent would have to present a doctor's note if a student accrues five absences in a month or 10 in a semester, even if they're excused. Without a note, the absences would become unexcused.

The board members will discuss absenteeism again at a workshop before their meeting on May 5. A second reading of the proposed changes is scheduled for the board meeting on May 19.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 226-3446 or [email protected] Follow @josh_solomon15.

Comments
Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

TAMPA — "Elevate," a Hillsborough County School District initiative that was to focus on seven troubled schools and use them as models for dozens more, is becoming but a memory as the district seeks instead to support all schools equally."We’re more ...
Published: 02/17/18
Plant High students commemorate Parkland victims with sidewalk messages

Plant High students commemorate Parkland victims with sidewalk messages

TAMPA — Students at Plant High School honored the victims of the Parkland school shooting with a series of sidewalk chalk messages.The chalk art carried a series of messages such as "How many times?" and "Do something. Protect us." according to a Fac...
Published: 02/16/18
At public schools in Tampa Bay, a day to mourn, assess and reinforce

At public schools in Tampa Bay, a day to mourn, assess and reinforce

While fielding calls from anxious parents after the Broward County high school shooting that claimed 17 lives, school officials in the Tampa Bay area took a close look Thursday at what they are doing to keep students safe.There are gates and locks an...
Published: 02/15/18
Joe Henderson: April Griffin won’t run again for school board. She says she means it this time.

Joe Henderson: April Griffin won’t run again for school board. She says she means it this time.

Assuming April Griffin follows through on her decision not to seek re-election to the Hillsborough County School Board, well, meetings just won’t be the same. Chances are they’ll just be filled with boring reports, proclamations and routine business....
Published: 02/15/18
‘I don’t get paid for teaching,’ says Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate acts. Now he’s gone

‘I don’t get paid for teaching,’ says Pinellas teacher accused of inappropriate acts. Now he’s gone

A St. Petersburg High teacher has retired in the middle of the school year after students said he called them "baby," "babe," "missy," "honey," "sweetie," "little girl" and ended one girl’s name with "-licious."The Pinellas County school district fou...
Published: 02/15/18
Interim principal says teamwork will lift long-struggling Moton Elementary

Interim principal says teamwork will lift long-struggling Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE — Less than a month after taking over as interim principal at long-struggling Moton Elementary School, Brent Gaustad says teamwork by educators across the district has things looking up.Behavior has improved, he said, and innovative proce...
Published: 02/15/18
17 dead, 15 wounded, former student in custody after Broward school shooting

17 dead, 15 wounded, former student in custody after Broward school shooting

PARKLAND — An American nightmare unfolded Wednesday afternoon at a South Florida high school after police say an expelled teenager returned to campus and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 17 and wounding 15 more in the worst school shooting ...
Published: 02/14/18
Teachers take tests too. And when they cheat, Hillsborough has a knack for catching them

Teachers take tests too. And when they cheat, Hillsborough has a knack for catching them

TAMPA — Claudette Wilson and Annella Fender are sisters from Jamaica who did everything together.They both taught at Dowdell Middle School — one English, the other reading. They played tennis on Saturdays. After their match, they would work on their ...
Published: 02/14/18
No raise this year for USF president Genshaft; pay and benefits to remain at $925,000

No raise this year for USF president Genshaft; pay and benefits to remain at $925,000

TAMPA — The University of South Florida System’s long-serving leader will again stand to make about $925,000 in pay and deferred compensation under her proposed contract renewal.If approved, President Judy Genshaft’s contract will provide for about $...
Published: 02/14/18

Pasco School Board: Principals should alert families of potentially controversial books

Recently adopted law that gives parents and other residents more opportunities to review and challenge school instructional materials has sparked the Pasco County School Board to take a closer look at how it deals with such situations.The board last ...
Published: 02/14/18