Handbook changes to address plagiarism at DeLand-Weldon

DeLand-Weldon schools have added verbiage to student handbooks they hope will tighten up plagiarism, tardiness, and who should be allowed to go on end-of-the-year field trips.

School officials say ever-expanding use of the internet for research is prompting a little too much copy and paste into class papers. 

“Plagiarism has been kind of a big deal this year,” said Superintendent Amanda Geary, who told school board members on June 19 that  handbooks already had a combined section on cheating/plagiarism, but felt the latter needed its own entry along with spelled out consequences.

“The biggest thing is copying and pasting off the internet. That’s what they are doing and saying it is their paper,” she added, noting that teachers start teaching about plagiarism starting in the sixth grade.

As part of the 2018-19 handbook approved by the school board, middle schoolers caught plagiarizing will have their parents notified and need to rewrite the paper. A second offense would mean no credit for the assignment and no better than a 59 percent overall for that grading period.

For high schoolers, the first offense would warrant no credit and a 59 percent maximum for that quarter.

Geary said tardiness has also been an issue, and that the definition in the handbook – “arriving to class late without a valid excuse” – needs to be better emphasized to parents. 

“We’ve got to get parents on board,” said the superintendent, adding she is not against “knocking on doors” to battle chronic truants.

Also added to handbooks was language that eighth graders who have been suspended during the school year, including in-school suspensions, are not eligible to go on the class field trip at the end of the year. 

Book bags will also not be allowed in the hallways for safety reasons.

Summer work to install Voice Over Internet Protocol telephones in all rooms is  proceeding. That includes the running of internet cable to some non-served areas of the campus. The total cost for the project is estimated at $14,000. When complete, even the two gyms will have telephones, and announcements will be able to be targeted to individual schools or districtwide.

Resurfacing of the parking lot will be done in phases over a three- to five-year period due to the cost. District officials hope to address drainage concerns as part of the effort.


In other action, the board:

–was informed that FFA member Wyatt Summers finished in the top four at the State FFA Parliamentary Procedure Contest, as part of the Blue Ridge FFA team that finished seventh overall;

–expressed appreciation to music director Grace Ecker for band and chorus members participating in DeLand and Weldon Memorial Day parades;

– approved the District’s Title I plan, a necessity for receiving Title I funding;

– decided to keep board meetings at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month for 2018-18, except for the July meeting, which will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24;

–approved a 3.25 percent pay increase for unit bookkeeper Cheryl Jones; 

–approved the resignations of Matt Goldman as high school basketball coach and Samantha Kirkton as high school cheerleading coach;

–approved the re-hire of Angela Reeder as pre-kindergarten aide; and

–approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Bement school district to provide speech language services with shared employee Erin Anderson.

Categories (2):News, Education
Location (3):Local, Piatt County, De Land


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