D-WMS electives to count towards honor rolls

Elective classes at DeLand-Weldon Middle School will start counting towards honor roll calculations next fall. The school board approved the change on Dec. 18 after concerns had been raised a month earlier that high-effort classes such as Spanish did not count toward the quarterly academic honors list.

“Spanish is an elective and she is doing a great job with our students, and they are loving it. And if they’re working that hard for it, I don’t know why we shouldn’t count it,” said Superintendent Amanda Geary.

The idea of weighting classes, with someone counting more towards honor roll than others, was considered, but Geary felt that “if we count it, we just count it” and not to weigh courses differently.

Geary added that, for some courses such as art, physical education, and computers, “we need to have guidelines so there is work and grades are not just being made on behavior.”

Random drug testing is being researched for DeLand-Weldon students. Board members favored the idea, but will need to come up with how extensive it will be. Some districts limit it to extra-curricular participants, but others also have those who drive to school and students who operate machinery as part of the testing pool.

High School Principal Matt Goldman said most area school districts use Carle Clinic, which charges $49 per test and generates the list of students to be tested each time they come to the district. Some, like Blue Ridge, test monthly, while Bement tests once per semester.

Board member Jamie Dunn liked the idea of including student drivers in the random testing.

“I think it’s important to test the kids who drive, because I think there’s almost more of an issue there than kids who are in sports,” she commented.

Design/build update
Engie Services gave an update on possible projects that could be conducted by a design/build project. Board members were asked to fill out a survey of their top three areas of need and return them to the firm. Some of the options included replacement of obsolete lighting, installation of a secured entry, roof repair/replacement, plumbing issues, and addressing cracked tile flooring.

Installing a consistent hard surface for the campus parking lot, including elements that would improve drainage, could also be on the list.

Another update will be given to the board in January.

Board members approved a switch in the district’s accounting system to Skyward at a cost of $17,000 for the first year. It will replace Chalkable, a less expensive option but one that will no longer be available after this school year.

The board also:

–discussed how to add a day of instruction to the school year as part of a state mandate. Geary said the backpack and supply dropoff that is conducted the day before classes begin each August may be able to count as that extra day;

–was told bus routes may be adjusted since one bus services 70 students while the other averages about 40 pupils per day; and

–approved several policy changes, mostly to bring them into compliance with changes and state and federal law.



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