School Board Policies » Section I: Instruction

Section I: Instruction

IA: INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The Smyth County School Board develops and implements a program of instruction for grades kindergarten through 12 that is aligned to the Standards of Learning established by the Virginia Board of Education and that meets or exceeds the requirements of the Virginia Board of Education. The program of instruction shall emphasize reading, writing, speaking, mathematical concepts and computations, proficiency in the use of computers and related technology, computer science and computational thinking, including computer coding, and scientific concepts and processes; essential skills and concepts of citizenship, including knowledge of Virginia history, world and United States history, economics, government, foreign languages, international cultures, health and physical education, environmental issues and geography necessary for responsible participation in American society and in the international community; fine arts, which may include, but need not be limited to, music and art, and practical arts; knowledge and skills needed to qualify for further education, gainful employment, or training in a career or technical field; and development of the ability to apply such skills and knowledge in preparation for eventual employment and lifelong learning and to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

The School Board also implements:

    1. programs in grades kindergarten through three that emphasize developmentally appropriate learning to enhance success;
    2. programs based on prevention, intervention, or remediation designed to increase the number of students who earn a high school diploma and to prevent students from dropping out of school; such programs shall include components that are research-based;
    3. career and technical education programs incorporated into the kindergarten through grade 12 curricula;
    4. educational objectives in middle and high school that emphasize economic education and financial literacy pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-200.03;
    5. early identification of students with disabilities and enrollment of such students in appropriate instructional programs consistent with state and federal law;
    6. early identification of gifted students and enrollment of such students in appropriately differentiated instructional programs;
    7. educational alternatives for students whose needs are not met in programs prescribed elsewhere in the Standards of Learning;
    8. adult education programs for individuals functioning below the high school completion level;
    9. a plan to make achievements for students who are educationally at risk a division-wide priority that shall include procedures for measuring the progress of such students;
    10. an agreement for postsecondary degree attainment with a community college in Virginia specifying the options for students to complete an associate‘s degree or a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies from a community college concurrent with a high school diploma; such agreement shall specify the credit available for dual enrollment courses and Advanced Placement courses with qualifying exam scores of three or higher;
    11. a plan to notify students and their parents of the availability of dual enrollment and Advanced Placement classes, career and technical education programs, including internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs, and other work-based learning experiences; the International Baccalaureate Program, and Academic Year Governor's School Programs; the qualifications for enrolling in such classes, programs and experiences; and the availability of financial assistance to low-income and needy students to take the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations. This plan shall include notification to students and parents of the agreement with a community college in Virginia to enable students to complete an associate's degree or a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies concurrent with a high school diploma.
    12. identification of students with limited English proficiency and enrollment of such students in appropriate instructional programs, which programs may include dual language programs whereby such students receive instruction in English and in a second language;
    13. early identification, diagnosis, and assistance for students with reading and mathematics problems and provision of instructional strategies and reading and mathematics practices that benefit the development of reading and mathematics skills for all students;
    14. incorporation of art, music, and physical education as a part of the instructional program at the elementary school level;
    15. a program of physical activity available to all students in grades kindergarten through five consisting of at least 20 minutes per day or an average of 100 minutes per week during the regular school year and available to all students in grades six through 12 with a goal of at least 150 minutes per week on average during the regular school year; such program may include any combination of (i) physical education classes, (ii) extracurricular athletics, (iii) recess, or (iv) other programs and physical activities deemed appropriate by the School Board;
    16. a program of student services for grades kindergarten through grade 12 that shall be designed to aid students in their educational, social, and career development;
    17. the collection and analysis of data and the use of the results to evaluate and make decisions about the instructional program;
    18. a program of instruction in each government course in the school division on all information and concepts in the civics portion of the U.S. Naturalization test

Adopted: January 25, 2010
Revised: August 12, 2013
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: December 11, 2017
September 10, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78, 22.1-253.13:1.

Cross References

      • IGAD: Career and Technical Education
      • IGBI: Advanced Placement Classes and Special Programs
      • JHCF: Student Wellness

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IAA: NOTIFICATION OF LEARNING OBJECTIVES

I. Annual Notice

      At the beginning of each school year, each school within Smyth County Public Schools provides to its students‘ parents or guardians information on the availability of and source of receiving:
      1. The learning objectives developed in accordance with the Standards of Accreditation to be achieved at their child‘s grade level, or, in high school, a copy of the syllabus for each of their child‘s courses;
      2. A copy of the Standards of Learning (SOLs) applicable to the child‘s grade or course requirements and the approximate date and potential impact of the child‘s SOL testing;
      3. An annual notice to students in all grade levels of all requirements for Virginia Board of Education approved diplomas; and
      4. The board‘s policies on promotion, retention, and remediation.

The Superintendent certifies to the Virginia Department of Education that the notice required by this policy has been given.

II. Notice of Credits Needed for Graduation and of the Right to a Free Public Education

      1. The school board notifies the parents of rising 11th and 12th grade students of:
        1. requirements for graduation pursuant to the standards for accreditation; and
        2. the requirements that have yet to be completed by the individual student.
      2. The school board notifies the parent of students with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and who fail to meet the graduation requirements of the student‘s right to a free and appropriate education to age 21, inclusive, pursuant to Va. Code § 22.1-213 et seq.
      3. The school board notifies the parent of students who fail to graduate or who fail to achieve graduation requirements as provided in the Standards of Accreditation and who have not reached 20 years of age on or before August 1st of the school year of the right to a free public education. If the student who does not graduate or complete such requirements is a student for whom English is a second language, the school board notifies the parent of the student‘s opportunity for a free public education in accordance with Va. Code § 22.1-5.

Adopted: September 13, 2010
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:4.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-270.

Cross References

      • IGBC: Parent and Family Engagement
      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements

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IB: ACADEMIC FREEDOM

The School Board seeks to educate young people in the democratic tradition, to foster a recognition of individual freedom and social responsibility, and to inspire meaningful awareness of and respect for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Freedom of individual conscience, association, and expression are encouraged and fairness in procedures will be observed both to safeguard the legitimate interests of the schools and to exhibit by appropriate examples the basic objectives of a democratic society as set forth in the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Such home and classroom work is evaluated by ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance and against other legitimate pedagogical concerns identified by the school.

Adopted: March 23, 2009
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78, 22.1-303.3.

Cross References

      • IKB: Homework
      • INDC: Religion in the Schools

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IC/ID: SCHOOL YEAR/SCHOOL DAY

School Year

The length of the school year will be at least 180 teaching days or 990 teaching hours. Days on which a school(s) or all the schools in the division are closed due to severe weather or other emergencies will be made up as provided below if necessary to meet these requirements.

Students are provided a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time in elementary school, except for students in half-day kindergarten, in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science and a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

Unstructured recreational time that is intended to develop teamwork, social skills, and overall physical fitness may be included in the calculation of total instructional time or teaching hours for elementary school, provided that such unstructured recreational time does not exceed 15 percent of total instructional time or teaching hours.

Make Up Days

The School Board will make up days missed in accordance with Virginia Code and the Virginia Board of Education regulations. The general rule for making up missed days due to inclement weather is to make up each day missed. If severe weather or another emergency exists which causes a school or schools to be closed for an extended period of time, the superintendent shall follow the Virginia Code and the Virginia Board of Education regulations regarding the required amount of time that must be made up based on the status of the emergency.

If severe weather conditions or other emergency situations result in the closing of any school in the school division and such school has been unable to meet the 180 teaching day requirement, the school division may make up the missed teaching days by providing its students with instructional hours equivalent to such missed teaching days to meet the minimum 990 teaching hour requirement.

The Virginia Board of Education may waive the requirement that the school division provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for school closings resulting from a declared state of emergency, severe weather conditions, or other emergency situations under certain circumstances. If the school board desires a waiver, it will submit a request to the Virginia Board of Education. The request will include evidence of efforts that have been made by the school division to reschedule as many days as possible and certification by the superintendent and chairman of the school board that every reasonable effort for making up lost teaching days or teaching hours was exhausted before requesting a waiver. If the waiver is denied, the school division will make up the missed instructional time.

School Calendar

The first day of school is after Labor Day unless the Virginia Board of Education waives this requirement based on the School Board’s certifying that it meets one of the good cause requirements in the Va. Code § 22.1-79.1.B.

The school board establishes the division’s calendar and teaching contracts in accordance with applicable regulations of the Virginia Board of Education to include contingencies for making up teaching days and teaching hours missed for emergency situations.

An advisory committee composed of teachers, parents, and school administration may be utilized to recommend a proposed calendar to the superintendent. The recommendation of this committee is advisory.

School Day

The standard school day for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5 1/2 instructional hours, excluding breaks for meals and recess. The standard school day for kindergarten is a minimum of three instructional hours.

All students in grades 1 through 12 maintain a full day schedule of classes (5 1/2 hours), unless a waiver is granted in accordance with policies defined by the School Board.

Each elementary school provides students with a daily recess during the regular school year, as determined appropriate by the school.

The secondary school class schedule contains a minimum of 140 clock hours for each unit of credit. When credit is awarded in less than whole units, the increment awarded is no greater than the fractional part of the 140 hours of instruction provided.

The time for opening and closing schools is established by the School Board upon recommendation of the superintendent, provided that the daily program for students in grades 1 through 12 averages at least 5-½ hours, not including meal intermissions. If the required program length is maintained, the School Board may approve occasional shortened days for parent-teacher conferences, staff development, the day prior to a holiday break or other activities designed to improve the instructional program, provided that no more than one day in each five-day week may be shortened to no less than four hours. The daily program for kindergarten is at least three hours, not including meal intermissions.

When exceptions in the length of the daily program are necessary for special education, alternative education, double shifts, and scheduling or other unusual situations, the Board requests approval by the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the exceptions by August 1 preceding the school year for which they are requested.

The length of the work day for employees is determined by the School Board. It is of sufficient length to allow for the daily program for students and additional time as may be necessary for such activities as planning, preparation, meetings, workshops, conferences, meal intermissions, or other contractual obligations.

Certification

The superintendent and School Board chair certify the total number of teaching days and teaching hours each year as part of the annual report to the Virginia Board of Education.

Adopted: July 29, 2015
Revised: September 10, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended §§ 22.1-26, 22.1-79.1, 22.1-98.
      • Acts 2018, c. 785.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-150
      • 8 VAC 20-131-200.
      • 8 VAC 20-490-30

Cross References

      • BCF: Advisory Committees to the School Board
      • GAA: Staff Time Schedules
      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements
      • IKFD Alternative Paths to Attaining Standard Units of Credit

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IE: MOMENT OF SILENCE

The Smyth County School Board recognizes that a moment of silence before each school day prepares students and staff for their respective work or school days. Therefore, each teacher shall observe one minute of silence at the beginning of the first class of each school day.

The teacher responsible for each class shall make sure that each student: (1) remains seated and silent and (2) does not disrupt or distract other students during the moment of silence. The moment may be used for any lawful silent activity, including personal reflection, prayer and meditation. Teachers shall not influence, in any way, students to pray or meditate or not to pray or meditate during the moment of silence.

Adopted: October 13, 2008
Revised: May 28, 2013

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-203

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IEA: PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The Pledge of Allegiance, as established in 4 U.S.C. § 4, shall be recited daily in each classroom of the Smyth County School Division.

During the recitation of the Pledge, students shall stand and recite the Pledge while facing the flag with their right hands over their hearts or in an appropriate salute if in uniform.

No student shall be compelled to recite the Pledge if he, his parent or legal guardian objects on religious, philosophical, or other grounds to his participating in this exercise. Students who are exempt from reciting the Pledge shall quietly stand or sit at their desks while others recite the Pledge and shall make no display that disrupts or distracts those who are reciting the Pledge.

Appropriate accommodations shall be made for students who are unable to comply with the procedures described herein due to disability.

Adopted: October 13, 2008

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-202.
      • 4 U.S.C. § 4.

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IEB: NATIONAL MOTTO

The statement "‘In God We Trust,‘ the National Motto, enacted by Congress in 1956" shall be posted in a conspicuous place in each school for all students to read.

Adopted: October 13, 2008

Legal References

      • Acts 2002, c. 891.

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IEC: BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

The Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States shall be posted in a conspicuous place in each school for all students to read.

Adopted: October 13, 2008

Legal References

      • Acts 2003, c. 902.

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IF: CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND ADOPTION

The curriculum is a coherent and comprehensive plan for teaching and learning built upon a framework that promotes continuity and the cumulative acquisition and application of skills. The curriculum shall state clearly and specifically what students are expected to know and be able to do by grade level and course. The Smyth County School Board curricula shall meet or exceed the requirements of the Code of Virginia and regulations of the Virginia Board of Education and, at a minimum, shall be aligned to the Standards of Learning.

Adopted: June 30, 2009
Revised: May 28, 2013

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78, 22.1-253.13:1.

Cross References

      • AF: Comprehensive Plan

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IFB: PILOT, RESEARCH OR EXPERIMENTAL PROJECTS

Right to Inspect Instructional Materials

In addition to any other rights with respect to the inspection of instructional materials, the parent or guardian of a child enrolled or engaged in any research or experimentation program or project which is funded by the United States Department of Education shall be entitled to inspect all instructional materials which will be used in conjunction with such program or project.

Research and Informed Consent

As used herein, the term "research or experimentation program or project" means any systematic investigation which departs from the application of established and accepted methods which are appropriate to meet the students‘ needs and may result in physical or psychological injury to the participants. The designation of any program or project as a research or experimentation program or project shall be made by the superintendent of schools.

Informed Consent

No research shall be conducted or authorized unless the student‘s parents or legally authorized representative or emancipated student signs a student consent form and has it witnessed. The form shall comply with the Va. Code § 32.1-162.18.

Any research involving students shall be approved and conducted under the review of a human research committee established by the school division. The human research committee will consist of the Superintendent, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, and any individual assigned to the committee due to their knowledge of the particular topic.

If the subjects cannot be identified and the research falls within the exemptions of the Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, the research is exempted from these requirements.

Any complaints arising under this policy shall be submitted under Policies KL or KLB as appropriate.

Adopted: November 9, 2009

Legal References

      • 20 U.S.C. § 1232h(a)
      • 45 C.F.R. 46.101 et seq.
      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-16.1, 22.1-78, 32.1-162, 16-162.20.
      • 8 VAC 20-565-10 et seq.

Cross References

      • JHDA: Human Research
      • KFB: Administration of Surveys and Questionnaires

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IGA: BASIC INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAM

Because education is a lifelong process, the educational program will provide both formal studies to meet the general academic needs of all students, and opportunities for individual students to develop specific talents and interests in career and technical education, arts education, and other specialized fields that encourage growth toward independent learning.

The various instructional programs will be developed with a view toward maintaining balanced, integrated, and sequentially articulated curricula which will serve the educational needs of all school-aged children in the division.

The Smyth County School Board subscribes to the philosophy that well developed reading, math, and other basic skills, including the ability to speak and write effectively are essential in society. It will adopt specific requirements to ensure that high school graduates are sufficiently competent in these essential skills.

At all levels, provisions will be made to meet the educational needs for a wide range of individual differences in student abilities, learning rates, and learning styles through the use of a variety of materials, differentiated instruction, adjustments in programs, and courses adapted for the special needs of students.

The curriculum will meet or exceed the requirements established by the Code of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Board of Education. In addition, the curriculum will be aligned to the Standards of Learning.

Adopted: December 14, 2009

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78, 22.1-253.13:1 et seq.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-10 et seq.

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IGAD: CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION

The Smyth County School Board provides career and technical educational programs incorporated into the kindergarten through twelfth grade curricula that include:

      • knowledge of careers and all types of employment opportunities including, but not limited to, apprenticeships, entrepreneurship and small business ownership, the military, and the teaching profession, and emphasize the advantages of completing school with marketable skills.
      • career exploration opportunities in the middle school grades; and
      • competency-based career and technical education programs which integrate academic outcomes, career guidance and job-seeking skills for all secondary students based on labor market needs and student interest. Career guidance includes counseling about available employment opportunities and placement services for students exiting school: and
      • annual notice on its website to enroll high school students and their parents of (i) the availability of the postsecondary education and employment data published by the State Council of Higher Eduction on its website and (ii) the opportunity for such students to obtain a nationally recognized career readiness certificate at a local public high school, comprehensive community college or workforce center.

The School Board develops and implements a plan to ensure compliance with this Policy. This plan is developed with the input of area business and industry representatives and local community colleges and is submitted to the Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with the timelines established by federal law.

The School Board may establish High School to Work Partnerships or delegate the authority to establish Partnerships to the division’s career and technical education administrator or the administrator’s designee, in collaboration with the guidance counselor office of each high school in the school division, and educates high school students about opportunities available through such Partnerships.

Adopted: October 12, 2009
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: December 11, 2017
Revised: September 10, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:1.

Cross References

      • IJ: Guidance and Counseling Programs

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IGAE/IGAF: HEALTH EDUCATION/PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Students receive health instruction and physical training as prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the Board of Health.

Such health instruction

      • incorporates standards that recognize the multiple dimensions of health by including mental health and the relationship of physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behavior that promote health, wellbeing and human dignity, and
      • may include an age-appropriate program of instruction on the safe use of and risks of abuse of prescription drugs that is consistent with curriculum guidelines developed by the Board of Education and approved by the Board of Health.

Smyth County Public Schools' division provides a program of physical activity available to all students in grades kindergarten through five consisting of at least 20 minutes per day or an average of 100 minutes per week during the regular school year and available to all students in grades six through 12 with a goal of at least 150 minutes per week on average during the regular school year. Such program may include any combination of physical education classes, extracurricular athletics, recess or other programs and activities.

Adopted: November 11, 2013
Revised: April 13, 2015
Revised: September 10, 2018
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1 207, 22.1-253.13:1.

Cross References

      • IC/ID: School Year/School Day
      • IGAG: Teaching About Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
      • JHCA: Physical Examinations of Students
      • JHCF: Student Wellness
      • JO: Student Records

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IGAG: TEACHING ABOUT DRUGS, ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO

Each student shall receive instruction related to alcohol and drug abuse and smoking and health. The health education program will include instruction in drug and substance abuse prevention. It will encourage and support organizations and activities that will develop a positive peer influence concerning substance abuse and create a climate whereby students may seek and receive counseling about substance abuse and related problems without fear of reprisal.

Each student shall receive instruction concerning the public safety hazards and dangers of alcohol abuse, underage drinking, and drunk driving.

Adopted: January 12, 2009
Revised: June 28, 2010

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-79.5, 22.1 206.

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IGAH: FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION (FLE)

Generally

The Smyth County School Board provides Family Life Education (FLE) based on the FLE Standards of Learning (SOL) objectives developed by the Virginia Department of Education. The SOL objectives related to dating violence and the characteristics of abusive relations are taught at least once in middle school and at least twice in high school. The high school FLE curriculum incorporates age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of dating violence, domestic abuse, sexual harassment and sexual violencee and may include instruction that increases student awareness of the fact that consent is required before sexual activity and age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent.

Community Involvement Team

Under procedures approved by the School Board, a community involvement team is established. The team includes but is not limited to school administrators, teachers, parents, clergy, medical professionals, mental health professionals and others in the community.

Staff Training

Teachers in the FLE program participate in the training program sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education.

Separate Sessions

A plan for teaching sensitive conduct in gender separated classes is announced publicly.

"Opt-out" Procedures

An "opt-out" procedure is provided to ensure communication with the parent or guardian for permission for students to be excused from all or part of the program.

Annual Review

The FLE curriculum is reviewed annually. Such review allows for community input.

Right of Parental Review

A parent or guardian has the right to review the FLE curricula, including all supplemental materials used in the program.

The School Board develops and distributes to the parents or guardians of students participating in the FLE program a summary designed to assist them in understanding the program implemented in our school division and to encourage parental guidance and involvement in the instruction of the students. Such information reflects the curricula of the program as taught in the classroom. The following statement is included on the summary: "Parents and guardians have the right to review the family life education program offered by their school division, including written and audio-visual educational materials used in the program. Parents and guardians also have the right to excuse their child from all or part of family life education instruction."

Adopted: March 8, 2010
Revised: July 29, 2015
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: December 11, 2017

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-207.1:1, 22.1-207.2.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-170.
      • Virginia Department of Education, Family Life Education: Board of Education Guidelines and Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools (revised September, 2016)

Cross References

      • BDF: Advisory Committees of the School Board
      • IIA: Instructional Materials
      • INB: Teaching About Controversial Issues
      • KLB: Public Complaints About Learning Resources

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IGAI: CHARACTER EDUCATION

The Smyth County School Board provides, within its existing programs or as a separate program, a character education program in its schools. The character education program may occur during the regular school year, during the summer in a youth development academy offered by the school division, or both. The purpose of the program is to foster civic virtues and personal character traits so as to improve the learning environment, promote student achievement, reduce disciplinary problems, and develop civic-minded students of high character. The program will be cooperatively developed with students, parents, and the community. Specific character traits emphasized may include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

Character education shall be interwoven into the school procedures and environment so as to instruct primarily by example, illustration, and participation, in such a way as to complement the Standards of Learning. Classroom instruction may also be used to supplement the program. The program shall also address the inappropriateness of bullying, as defined in Va. Code § 22.1-276.01.

The character education program:

      • specifies those character traits to be taught, selecting from those which are common to diverse social, cultural, and religious groups.
      • is implemented at the elementary and secondary levels.
      • provides for relevant professional development and adequate resources.
      • includes a method for program evaluation.

Character education is intended to educate students regarding those core civic values and virtues which are efficacious to civilized society and are common to the diverse social, cultural, and religious groups of the Commonwealth. It shall not include indoctrination in any particular religious or political belief. Consistent with this purpose, Virginia‘s civic values, which are the principles articulated in the Bill of Rights (Article I) of the Constitution of Virginia and the ideals reflected in the seal of the Commonwealth, as described in Va. Code § 1-500, may be taught as representative of such civic values.

Adopted: January 25, 2010
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-208.01.

Cross References

      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements
      • INB: Teaching About Controversial Issues
      • INDC: Religion in the Schools

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IGAJ: DRIVER EDUCATION

The Smyth County School Board offers a program of driver education in the high schools in the safe operation of motor vehicles. The program includes instruction concerning alcohol and drug abuse, aggressive driving, motorcycle awareness, distracted driving, organ and tissue donor awareness, fuel-efficient driving practices and traffic stops, including lawenforcement procedures for traffic stops, appropriate actions to be taken by drivers during traffic stops and appropriate interactions with law-enforcement officers who initiate traffic stops.

The School Board establishes fees that do not exceed the limit established by the Virginia Department of Education, for the behind-the-wheel portion of the program. The School Board may waive the fee in whole or in part for those students it determines cannot pay the fee.

The fee for the “behind the wheel training” of driver education will be $50 per student. If a student qualifies for the free and/or reduced price lunch program, a parent may make a written request to the principal to lower the fee to $25. All debts owed to the school and the school division must be paid prior to “behind the wheel training”.

Any student who participates in a driver education program must meet the academic requirements established by the Virginia Board of Education. No student is permitted to operate a motor vehicle without a learner‘s permit or a license. Necessary certification of students‘ academic standing and compliance with compulsory attendance laws is provided by the administration to the Department of Motor Vehicles upon request, in accordance with state law.

Driver education instructors possess valid driver’s licenses and maintain satisfactory driving records. Any teacher of behind-the-wheel instruction who receives six or more demerit points in a 12-month period will be suspended from teaching driver education for 24 months.

At the beginning of each school year and thereafter as necessary, the Superintendent reports to the Department of Motor Vehicles the name and driver’s license number of all persons providing instruction in driver education for the school division.

Adopted: November 9, 2009
Revised: June 28, 2010
Revised: April 14, 2014
Revised: July 29, 2015
Revised: December 11, 2017

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1 205; 46.2-334, 46.2-340
      • 8 VAC 20-340-10.
      • 8 VAC 20-720-80.

Cross References

      • JED: Student Absences/Excuses/Dismissals
      • JFC-R: Standards of Student Conduct
      • JN: Student Fees, Fines, and Charges

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IGAK: ALTERNATIVES TO ANIMAL DISSECTION

The Smyth County School Board provides one or more alternatives to animal dissection for students enrolled in classes that incorporate dissection exercises. The superintendent is responsible for implementing such alternatives. The superintendent considers the Virginia Board of Education Guidelines Alternatives to Animal Dissection in implementing the alternatives.

Adopted: November 9, 2009
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-200.01.
      • fVirginia Board of Education Guidelines for Alternatives to Animal Dissection (Attachment to Virginia Department of Education Superintendent‘s Memo #161 (Aug. 6, 2004)).

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IGBA: PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Generally

The Smyth County School Board provides a free, appropriate public education for all children and youth with disabilities, ages 2 through 21, inclusive, who are residents of Smyth County or who are not residents of Smyth County but have been approved as out of district students or are residents of Virginia and who are enrolled in a full-time virtual school program provided by the School Board. To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled.

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed and maintained for each child with a disability served by the Smyth County School Board. The program is developed in a meeting of the child’s IEP team, which includes the child’s teacher, parent(s), the student (when appropriate), a school division representative qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education services, an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results and other individuals at the discretion of the parents or school division in accordance with State and federal law and regulations. This IEP is reviewed at least annually.

The IEP includes areas specified by state and federal statutes and regulations.

Explanation of Procedural Safeguards

A copy of the procedural safeguards available to the parent(s) of a child with a disability is given to the parent(s). The procedural safeguards notice includes a full explanation of all the procedural safeguards available.

Child Find

The Smyth County School Board maintains an active and continuing child find program designed to identify, locate and evaluate those children residing in the school division who are birth to 21 inclusive who are in need of special education and related services.

The School Board provides all applicable procedural safeguards including written notice to the parents of the scheduled screening and, if the child fails the screening, the results of the screening, confidentiality and maintenance of the student’s scholastic record.

Adopted: October 12, 2009
Revised: July 31, 2014

Legal References

      • 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.
      • 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq.
      • 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-213, 22.1-215.
      • 8 VAC 20-80-50.
      • 8 VAC 20-81-80.
      • 8 VAC 20-81-100.
      • 8 VAC 20-81-110.
      • 8 VAC 20-81-130.
      • 8 VAC 20-81-170.

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IGBB: PROGRAMS FOR GIFTED STUDENTS

To provide acceptable programs for gifted students, educational opportunities appropriate to exceptional abilities must be provided. The responsibility of providing each student with the opportunity to realize his/her potential is recognized by the Smyth County School Board. Gifted students require a unique, advanced, and challenging educational program in order to enhance the development of their special abilities. The division shall use multiple criteria for the identification of gifted students as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education. The School Board shall submit an annual report on its Program of Gifted Education to the Virginia Department of Education as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.

The School Board actively promotes and develops an appropriately differentiated educational program for gifted students in order to facilitate the fullest development of their potential. The School Board shall establish a local advisory committee for the gifted education program. Annually, the committee shall review the gifted education program, including any revisions to the program. The committee shall also determine the extent to which the program for the previous year was implemented by the division. The comments and recommendations of the committee shall be provided in writing to: (1) the Superintendent and (2) the School Board. The program shall be in compliance with the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Board of Education Regulations.

Adopted: November 9, 2009

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-18.1, 22.1-253.13:1.D.5.
      • 8 VAC 20-40-20.
      • 8 VAC 20-40-50.

Cross References

      • BCF: Advisory Committees to the School Board
      • IKEB: Acceleration

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IGBC: PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT

Generally

The Smyth County School Board recognizes that the education of each student is a responsibility shared by the school and the student‘s family. The Smyth County School Board endorses the parental involvement goals of Title I (20 U.S.C. § 6318) and Title III (20 U.S.C. § 7012(e) and encourages the regular participation by parents of all children including those eligible for Title I and Limited English Proficiency (LEP) programs in all aspects of those programs.

In keeping with these beliefs, it is the intention of the Smyth County School Board to cultivate and support active parental involvement in student learning. The Smyth County School Board will:

      • provide activities that educate parents regarding the intellectual and developmental needs of their children. These activities will promote cooperation between the division and other agencies or school/community groups (such as parent-teacher groups, and the Head Start program) to furnish learning opportunities and disseminate information regarding parenting skills and child/adolescent development;
      • implement strategies to involve parents in the educational process, including:
        • keeping families informed of opportunities for involvement and encouraging participation in various programs;
        • providing access to educational resources for parents and families to use with their children;
        • keeping families informed of the objectives of district educational programs as well as of their child‘s participation and progress with these programs;
      • enable families to participate in the education of their children through a variety of roles. For example, family members may:
        • provide input into district policies
        • volunteer time within the classroom and school programs.
      • provide professional development opportunities for teachers and staff to enhance their understanding of effective parent involvement strategies;
      • perform regular evaluations of parent involvement at each school and in the district;
      • provide access, upon request, to any instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum;
      • if practicable, provide information in a language understandable to parents.

In addition, for parents of students eligible for LEP programs, the School Board will inform such parents of how they can be active participants in assisting their children:

      • to learn English;
      • to achieve at high levels in core academic subjects; and
      • to meet the same challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards as all children are expected to meet.

Parental Involvement in Title I Plan

The Smyth County School Division encourages parents of children eligible to participate in Title I, Part A, programs to participate in the development of the District‘s Title I plan. Parents may participate by:

      • attending annual school plan meetings;
      • completing Title I evaluation forms;
      • completing parent surveys; and
      • attending parent advisory meetings and parent workshops.

Parental Involvement in School Review and Improvement

The Smyth County School Division encourages parents of children eligible to participate in Title I, Part A, and LEP programs to participate in the process of school review and, if applicable, school improvement as implemented by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, 20 U.S.C. § 2316. Parents may participate by:

      • attending school plan meetings for the purpose of school review;
      • attending school improvement meetings as needed; and
      • attending parent advisory meetings throughout the school year.

District Responsibilities

The Smyth County School Division and each school which receives Title I, Part A, funds, will:

      • provide assistance to parents of children served by the school or district, as applicable, in understanding topics such as Virginia‘s academic content standards and student academic achievement standards, state and local academic assessments, and how to monitor a child‘s progress and work with educators to improve the achievement of their children;
      • provide materials and training to help parents work with their children to improve their children‘s‘ achievement, such as literacy training and using technology, as appropriate, to foster parental involvement;
      • educate teachers, pupil services personnel, principals, and other staff, with the assistance of parents, in the value and utility of contributions of parents and in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners, implement and coordinate parent programs, and build ties between parents and the school;
      • to the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate parental involvement programs and activities with Head Start, the Home Instruction Programs for Preschool Youngsters, and public preschool and other programs, and conduct other activities, such as parent resource centers, that encourage and support parents in more fully participating in the education of their children;
      • ensure that information related to school and parent programs, meetings, and other activities is sent to the parents of participating children in a format and, to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand; and
      • provide such other reasonable support for parental involvement activities as parents may request.

The Smyth County School Division, and each school which receives Title I, Part A, funds, may:

      • involve parents in the development of training for teachers, principals, and other educators to improve the effectiveness of such training;
      • provide necessary literacy training from Title I funds if the district has exhausted all other reasonable available sources of funding for such training;
      • pay reasonable and necessary expenses associated with local parental involvement activities, including transportation and child care costs, to enable parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions;
      • train parents to enhance the involvement of other parents;
      • arrange school meetings at a variety of times, or conduct in-home conferences between teachers or other educators who work directly with participating children and parents who are unable to attend such conferences at school in order to maximize parental involvement and participation;
      • adopt and implement model approaches to improving parental involvement;
      • establish a district-wide parent advisory council to provide advice on all matters related to parental involvement in programs supported under this section; and,
      • develop appropriate roles for community-based organizations and businesses in parental involvement activities.

School Parental Involvement Policies

Each school served under Title I, Part A, shall jointly develop with and distribute to parents of participating children a written parental involvement policy, agreed on by such parents that shall describe the means for carrying out the following:

      • convening an annual meeting, at a convenient time, to which all parents of participating children shall be invited and encouraged to attend, to inform parents of their school‘s participation in Title I, Part A, and to explain the requirements of Title I, Part A, and the rights of parents to be involved;
      • offering a flexible number of meetings, such as meetings in the morning or evening, and may provide, with funds provided under this part, transportation, child care, or home visits, as such services relate to parental involvement;
      • involving parents, in an organized, ongoing, and timely way, in the planning, review, and improvement of Title I, Part A, programs including the planning, review, and improvement of the school parental involvement policy and the joint development of the schoolwide program plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, 20 U.S.C. § 6312(b)(2), except that if a school has in place a process for involving parents in the joint planning and design of the school‘s programs, the school may use that process, if such process includes an adequate representation of parents of participating children;
      • providing parents of participating children:
        • timely information about Title I, Part A, programs;
        • a description and explanation of the curriculum in use at the school, the academic assessments used to measure student progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet; and
        • if requested by parents, opportunities for regular meetings to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to the education of their children, and respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible; and
      • if the schoolwide program plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, 20 U.S.C. § 6312(b)(2) is not satisfactory to the parents of participating children, submitting any parent comments on the plan when the school makes the plan available to the School Division.

Parental Involvement in Allocation of Funding

Parents of children receiving services under Title I, Part A, shall be involved in the decisions regarding how funds provided under Title I, Part A, are allotted for parental involvement activities.

Policy Review

The content and effectiveness of this policy will be evaluated annually with regard to improving the academic quality of the schools receiving Title I, Part A, or LEP funds. This evaluation will identify barriers to greater participation by parents (particularly by parents who are economically disadvantaged, have disabilities, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background) and use the findings of that evaluation to design strategies for more effective parental involvement, and to revise, if necessary, this policy.

Adopted: January 12, 2009
Revised: December 11, 2017

Legal References

      • 20 U.S.C. §§ 6312, 6316, 6318.
      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78.

Cross References

      • AD: Educational Philosophy
      • BCF: Advisory Committees to the School Board
      • IAA: Notification of Learning Objectives
      • IKA: Parental Assistance with Instruction

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IGBE: REMEDIAL INSTRUCTION PROGRAM

Generally

The School Board develops and implements within its fiscal capacity programs of prevention, intervention or remediation for students who are educationally at risk, including but not limited to those who fail to achieve a passing score on any Standard of Learning assessment in grades three through eight, or who fail an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit. Such programs shall include components that are research based.

Any student who achieves a passing score on one or more, but not all, of the Standards of Learning assessments for the relevant grade level in grades three through eight may be required to attend a remediation program.

Any student who fails to achieve a passing score on all of the Standards of Learning assessments for the relevant grade level in grades three through eight or who fails an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit will be required to attend a remediation program or to participate in another form of remediation. The superintendent requires such students to take special programs of prevention, intervention, or remediation, which may include attendance in public summer school programs.

Remediation programs will include, when applicable, a procedure for early identification of students who are at risk of failing the Standards of Learning assessments in grades three through eight or who fail an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit. Such programs may also include summer school for all elementary and middle school grades and for all high school academic courses, as defined by regulations promulgated by the Virginia Board of Education, or other forms of remediation. Summer school remediation programs or other forms of remediation will be chosen by the superintendent to be appropriate to the academic needs of the student.

Students who are required to attend such summer school programs or to participate in another form of remediation are not charged tuition.

The requirement for remediation may, however, be satisfied by the student‘s attendance in a program of prevention, intervention or remediation which has been selected by his parent, in consultation with the Superintendent or Superintendent's designee, and is either (i) conducted by an accredited private school or (ii) a special program which has been determined to be comparable to the required public school remediation program by the division superintendent. The costs of such private school remediation program or other special remediation program are borne by the student‘s parent.

Targeted mathematics remediation and intervention are provided to students in grades six through eight who show computational deficiencies as demonstrated by their individual performance on any diagnostic test or grade-level Standards of Learning mathematics test that measures non-calculator computational skills.

The School Board annually evaluates and modifies, as appropriate, the remediation plan based on an analysis of the percentage of students meeting their remediation goals and consideration of the pass rate on the Standards of Learning assessments.

Summer School

The courses offered and the quality of instruction in the summer school program shall be comparable to that offered during the regular school term. Students must meet the requirements for SOL testing if appropriate.

Summer school instruction at any level which is provided as part of a state-funded remedial program shall be designed to improve specific identified student deficiencies.

Compulsory Attendance

When a student is required to participate in a remediation program pursuant to this policy, the Superintendent may seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance laws if a reasonable effort to seek the student‘s attendance, including direct notification of the parents of such student of the attendance requirement and failure of the parents to secure the student‘s attendance, have failed and the superintendent determines that remediation of the student‘s poor academic performance, passage of the Standards of Learning Assessment in grades three through eight, or promotion is related directly to the student‘s attendance in the remediation program.

Adopted: March 8, 2010
Revised: July 11, 2011
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: July 29, 2013
Revised: May 14, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-253.13:1, 22.1-253.13.3, 22.1-254, 22.1-254.01.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-120
      • 8 VAC 20-630-40.

Cross References

      • BCF: Advisory Committees To The School Board
      • IKG: Remediation Recovery Program

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IGBF: ENGLISH LEARNERS

Generally

The Smyth County School Board provides programs to improve the education of English learners by assisting the children to learn English and meet Virginia‘s challenging academic content and student academic achievement standards.

Assessments

The School Board annually assesses the English proficiency of all English learners.

Notification

The School Board, not later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year, informs a parent or the parents of an English learner identified for participation in, or participating in, a program for English learners, of:

      • the reasons for the identification of their child as an English learner and in need of placement in a language instruction education program;
      • the child‘s level of English proficiency, how that level was assessed, and the status of the child‘s academic achievement;
      • the method of instruction used in the program in which their child is, or will be, participating, and the methods of instruction used in other available programs, including how such programs differ in content, instruction goals, and use of English and a native language in instruction;
      • how the program in which their child is, or will be participating will meet the educational strengths and needs of the child;
      • how such program will specifically help their child learn English, and meet age appropriate academic achievement standards for grade promotion and graduation;
      • the specific exit requirements for such program, the expected rate of transition from such program into classrooms that are not tailored for English learners, and the expected rate of graduation from high school (including four-year adjusted cohort graduation rates and extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rates for such program);
      • in the case of a child with a disability, how such program meets the objectives of the individualized education program of the child; and
      • information pertaining to parental rights that includes written guidance
        • detailing the right that parents have to have their child immediately removed from such program upon their request and the options that parents have to decline to enroll their child in such program or to choose another program or method of instruction, if available, and
        • assisting parents in selecting among various programs and methods of instruction, if more than one program or method is offered by the school division.

For a child who has not been identified as an English learner prior to the beginning of the school year but is identified as an English learner during the school year, the School Board provides the notice detailed above within 2 weeks of the child being placed in the program.

The information described above is provided to parents in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parent can understand.

The School Board accepts and provides programs for students for whom English is a second language who entered school in Virginia for the first time after reaching their 12th birthday, and who have not reached age 22 on or before August 1 of the school year. No tuition shall be charged such students, if state funding is provided for such programs.

Adopted: January 25, 2010
Revised: December 11, 2017

Legal References

      • 20 U.S.C. sections 6311, 6312, 6825.
      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-5.

Cross References

      • IGBC: Parent and Family Engagement

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IGBG: HOMEBOUND, CORRESPONDENCE, AND ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF INSTRUCTION

Homebound Instruction

The School Board shall maintain a program of homebound instruction for students who are confined at home or in a health care facility for periods that would prevent normal school attendance based upon certification of need by a licensed physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or clinical psychologist.

Credit for the work shall be awarded when it is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, a person eligible to hold a Virginia teaching license, or other appropriately licensed professional employed by the School Board, and there is evidence that the instructional time requirements or alternative means of awarding credit adopted by the School Board have been met.

Correspondence Courses

Students who enroll in high school as freshmen before July 1, 2018, as sophomores before July 1, 2019, as juniors before July 1, 2020 or as seniors before July 1, 2021 may enroll in and receive a standard and verified unit of credit for supervised correspondence courses with prior approval of the principal. Standard units of credit will be awarded for the successful completion of such courses when the course is equivalent to that offered in the regular school program and the work is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, or a person eligible to hold a Virginia license, approved by the School Board. Verified units of credit may be earned when the student has passed the SOL test associated with the correspondence course completed. The division superintendent will develop regulations governing this method of instruction in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Education.

Instruction through Alternative Technological Means

Standard units of credit will be awarded for the successful completion of courses delivered through emerging technologies and other similar means when the course is equivalent to that offered in the regular school program and the work is done under the supervision of a licensed teacher, or a person eligible to hold a Virginia license, and approved by the School Board. Verified units of credit may be earned when the student has successfully completed the requirements and passed the SOL test associated with the course. The division superintendent will develop regulations governing this method of delivery of instruction in accordance with the regulations of the Board of Education.

Adopted: March 14, 2011
Revised: July 11, 2011
Revised: July 11, 2016

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 54.1-2952.2, 54.1-2957.02.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-180.

Cross References

      • IGBGA: Online Courses and Virtual School Programs

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IGBGA: ONLINE COURSES AND VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAMS

The Smyth County School Board may enter into contracts, consistent with the criteria approved by the Virginia Board of Education, with approved private or nonprofit organizations to provide multi-division online courses and virtual school programs. Such contracts shall be exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

Information regarding online courses and programs that are available through the school division will be posted on the division’s website. The information will include the types of online courses and programs available to students through the division, when the division will pay course fees and other costs for nonresident students, and the granting of high school credit.

Any student enrolled in any online course or virtual program offered by the school division shall be enrolled in a public school in Virginia as provided in Va. Code § 22.1-3.1. The student‘s parent or guardian shall give written permission prior to the enrollment of the student in any full-time virtual program offered by the school division.

A student who resides in the Smyth County school division will not be charged tuition for enrolling in any online course or virtual program offered by the school division. Tuition may be charged to students, except children with disabilities, who are enrolled in the division’s full-time virtual school program. Students taking online dual enrollment course(s) will be charged a share of the division’s non-reimbursed cost for tuition, fees, and/or books as determined by the School Board. Tuition may be charged to students who do not reside within the boundaries of the school division.

Teachers who deliver instruction to students through online courses or virtual school programs must be licensed by the Virginia Board of Education and are subject to the requirements of Policy GCDA Effect of Criminal Conviction or Founded Complaint of Child Abuse or Neglect.

The administrator of a virtual school program must hold an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with educational and work experience in administering educational programs.

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply.

Multidivision Online Provider
  1. A private or nonprofit organization that enters into a contract with a local school board to provide online courses or programs through that school board to students who reside in Virginia both within and outside the geographical boundaries of that school division;
  2. a private or nonprofit organization that enters into contracts with multiple local school boards to provide online courses or programs to students in kindergarten through grade 12 through those school boards; or
  3. a local school board that provides online courses or programs to students who reside in Virginia but outside the geographical boundaries of that school division.

However, "multidivision online provider" shall not include:

  1. a local school board‘s online learning program in which fewer than 10 percent of the students enrolled reside outside the geographical boundaries of that school division;
  2. multiple local school boards that establish joint online courses or programs in which fewer than 10 percent of the students enrolled reside outside the geographical boundaries of those school divisions;
  3. local school boards that provide online learning courses or programs for their students through an arrangement with a public or private institution of higher education; or
  4. local school boards providing online courses or programs through a private or nonprofit organization that has been approved as a multidivision online provider.
Online Course
A course or grade-level subject instruction that:
  1. is delivered by a multidivision online provider primarily electronically using the Internet or other computer-based methods and
  2. is taught by a teacher primarily from a remote location, with student access to the teacher given synchronously, asynchronously, or both.
Virtual School Program
A series of online courses with instructional content that:
  1. is delivered by a multidivision online provider primarily electronically using the Internet or other computer-based methods;
  2. is taught by a teacher primarily from a remote location, with student access to the teacher given synchronously, asynchronously, or both;
  3. is delivered as a part-time or full-time program; and
  4. has an online component with online lessons and tools for student and data management.

Adopted: July 28, 2010
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: July 31, 2014

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-212.24, 22.1-212.25, 22.1-212.26, 22.1-212.27, 22.1-215, 22.1-296.1, 22.1-296.2, and 22.1-296.4.

Cross References

      • DJF: Purchasing Procedures
      • GCDA: Effect of Criminal Conviction or Founded Complaint of Child Abuse or Neglect
      • IGBA: Programs for Students with Disabilities

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IGBH: ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL PROGRAMS

The Smyth County School Board will establish alternative educational programs within existing schools or at separate sites as needed. No person of school age meeting the residency requirements of § 22.1-3 may be charged tuition for enrollment in an alternative program offered as a regional or division-wide initiative by the School Board.

Proposals for alternative school programs shall be developed by the superintendent or his/her designee and will be submitted to the Board for review and endorsement prior to implementation. Proposals shall include:

      1. A statement of justification for the alternative program explaining how it will meet the special needs or expectations of the target population and the community;
      2. A plan which delineates the proposed organizational structure as it relates to staffing and the scope and structure of the total instructional program;
      3. A statement of financial impact identifying all costs, including administration, staffing, equipping, supplying, transportation, support services, and maintaining the program;
      4. A statement of related impact explaining how the proposed program will affect and interrelate with other programs and populations served in existing programs and facilities;
      5. A statement verifying that all aspects of the program are in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and accreditation requirements;
      6. If the proposal presents a potential conflict with existing regulations of the Virginia Department of Education, evidence of authorization from the Virginia Department of Education must accompany the proposal; and
      7. A plan for evaluation that defines anticipated outcomes and establishes criteria and procedures for evaluating achieved outcomes.

Adopted: June 14, 2010
Revised: August 13, 2012

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:1,

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IGBI: ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS

Students and their parents are notified of the availability of dual enrollment, advanced placement classes; career and technical education programs, including internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs, and other work-based learning experiences; and Academic Year Governor‘s School Programs, the qualifications for enrolling in such classes, programs, and experiences; and the availability of financial assistance to low-income and needy students to take the advanced placement and International Baccalaureate examinations. Students and their parents are also notified of the program with a community college to enable students to complete an associate‘s degree or a one-year Uniform Certificate of General Studies concurrent with a high school diploma. The superintendent promulgates regulations to implement this policy, which ensure the provision of timely and adequate notice to students and their parents.

Adopted: March 8, 2010
Revised: February 11, 2013
Revised: December 11, 2017
Revised: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:1.

Cross References

      • IGAD: Career and Technical Education
      • LEB: Advanced/Alternative Courses for Credit

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IGE: ADULT EDUCATION

Adult education programs are offered to those residents of the school division over the age of compulsory school attendance who are not enrolled in the regular public school program, including adult basic education, credit programs, cultural adult education, external diploma programs, general adult education, and high school equivalency programs, and who are functioning below the high school completion level. The School Board seeks to ensure that every individual participating in such a program has the opportunity to earn a high school diploma or pass a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education. Such programs may be conducted solely by the School Board or through a collaborative arrangement between the School Board and other School Boards or agencies. Credits and diplomas are awarded in accordance with regulations established by the Board of Education. Additional educational programs for individuals over the age of compulsory attendance also may be offered. Tuition and fees are established by the School Board.

Adopted: March 23, 2009
Revised: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1 210; 22.1-223, 22.1-225, 22.1-253.13:1, 22.1-253.13:4.

Cross References

      • JEA: Compulsory Attendance
      • JEG: Exclusions and Exemptions from School Attendance
      • JN: Student Fines, Fees and Charges
      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements

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IHA: GROUPING FOR INSTRUCTION

The Smyth County School Board recognizes the different educational needs of students and endorses the use of flexible assignment of students for instruction.

The grouping of students within individual schools for instructional purposes will be designed so each student will receive the maximum instructional benefit and will be based on:

      1. The best interests of the student,
      2. The educational level, or achievement level of the student,
      3. The availability of space,
      4. The best educational climate for learning,
      5. The student‘s best chance for success,
      6. Standards of Learning test scores, where available, or other standardized assessment scores, and
      7. The creation of groups that may be taught effectively.

Grouping will remain flexible in order to take advantage of the best educational research currently available. Groups will be created, modified, or disbanded to be responsive to student needs.

Adopted: August 13, 2012

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-70, 22.1-78

Cross References

      • IA: Instructional Goals and Objectives

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IHB: CLASS SIZE

The Smyth County School Board assigns licensed instructional personnel in a manner that produces division-wide ratios of students in average daily membership to full-time equivalent teaching positions, excluding special education teachers, principals, assistant principals, counselors, and librarians, that are not greater than the following ratios:

      • 24 to one in kindergarten with no class being larger than 29 students; if the average daily membership in any kindergarten class exceeds 24 pupils, a full-time teacher‘s aide will be assigned to the class;
      • 24 to one in grades one, two, and three with no class being larger than 30 students;
      • 25 to one in grades four through six with no class being larger than 35 students; and
      • 24 to one in English classes in grades six through 12.

After September 30 of any school year, anytime the number of students in a class exceeds the class size limit established by this policy, the school division will notify the parent of each student in such class of such fact no later than 10 days after the date on which the class exceeded the class size limit. The notification shall state the reason that the class size exceeds the class size limit and describe the measures that the school division will take to reduce the class size to comply with this policy.

In addition, the Smyth County School Board shall assign instructional personnel in a manner that produces school-wide ratios of students in average daily memberships to full-time equivalent teaching positions of 21 to one in middle schools and high schools.

When determining the assignment of instructional and other licensed personnel for purposes of this policy, full-time students of approved virtual school programs will not be included.

Adopted: July 28, 2010
Revised: July 11, 2016

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:2

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IIA: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

The Smyth County School Board is responsible for the selection, evaluation, approval, and use of instructional materials. The superintendent or his/her designee will periodically review guidelines and procedures for the selection of instructional materials and bring recommendations for changes to the Board.

The procedures for selection and evaluation of instructional materials will offer a thorough and efficient approach which ensures that appropriate instructional materials are selected, and provide an opportunity for the professional staff and community to participate and be informed on the selection and use of instructional materials. The procedures will include:

      • local criteria for selection of instructional materials;
      • a written evaluation of materials in relation to instructional goals and objectives should be provided by those evaluating the materials;
      • an evaluation committee which should include, when appropriate, parents, students, teachers, supervisors, and nonparent patrons;
      • opportunity for the examination of materials by appropriate committees and individuals;
      • notice to parents that materials under consideration for approval will be available at designated locations for review by any interested citizens;
      • provisions should be made for those reviewing such materials to present their comments and observations, if any, to the School Board;
      • procedures for the reconsideration of challenged materials;
      • public procurement processes must be followed unless otherwise exempted from the Virginia Public Procurement Act;
      • a recommendation will be made to the School Board who will make the decision on the final adoption of new instructional materials including textbooks; and
      • special emphasis on the thorough evaluation of materials related to controversial or sensitive topics such as Family Life Education.

Parents may inspect, on request, any instructional material used as part of their student’s curriculum.

Adopted: February 14, 2011
Revised: April 14, 2014
Revised: April 11, 2016
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-16.
      • 20 U.S.C. § 1232h
      • 8 VAC 20-720-160

Cross References

      • IGAH: Family Life Education
      • IIAA: Textbook Adoption, Selection, and Purchase
      • IIAB: Supplementary Materials Selection and Adoption
      • KLF: Public Complaints About Learning Resources
      • INB: Teaching About Controversial Issues

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IIAA: TEXTBOOK SELECTION, ADOPTION, AND PURCHASE

Selection of Textbooks

The School Board may adopt textbooks, including print or electronic media, for student use that serve as the primary curriculum basis for a grade-level subject or course from the list of textbooks approved by the Board of Education. The School Board may also adopt books which are not on the state-adopted list in accordance with the Board of Education regulations.

In approving textbooks, the School Board

      • appoints evaluation committees to review and evaluate textbooks,
      • gives notice to parents that textbooks under consideration will be listed on the division’s website and made available at designated locations for review by any interested citizens,
      • creates opportunities for persons reviewing such textbooks to present their comments and observations to the School Board,
      • creates procedures to ensure appropriate consideration of citizen comments and observations and
      • establishes and makes known selection criteria.

The Smyth County School Board may either enter into written term contracts or issue purchase orders with publishers of textbooks approved by the Board of Education. Such written contracts or purchase orders are exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act (Va. Code § 2.2-4300 et seq.). The contract price shall not exceed the lowest wholesale price at which the textbook(s) involved in the contract are currently bid under contract anywhere in the United States. If, subsequent to the date of any contract entered into by the School Board, the prices of textbooks named in the contract are reduced or the terms of the contract are made more favorable to purchase anywhere in the United States or a special or other edition of any book named in the contract is sold outside of Virginia at a lower price than contracted in Virginia, the publisher shall grant the same reduction or terms to the School Board and give the School Board the option of using such special or other edition adapted for use in Virginia and at the lowest price at which such special edition is sold elsewhere and the contract shall so state.

Contracts and purchase orders with publishers of textbooks approved by the Board of Education shall require the publisher to furnish an electronic file of the textbook in the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS) format that will then be deposited in the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) from which accessible versions of the particular textbook may be produced for students with print disabilities, as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1474. Publishers shall deliver the NIMAS file of the textbook on or before the date of delivery of the regular text version.

Contracts and purchase orders with publishers of textbooks approved by the Board of Education for use in grades 6-12 shall allow for the purchase of printed textbooks, printed textbooks with electronic files, or electronic textbooks separate and apart from printed versions of the same textbook. The school board may purchase an assortment of textbooks in any of the three forms listed above.

The School Board shall order directly from the respective publishers the textbooks needed to supply the public schools in the school division. The publishers shall ship the textbooks to the School Board. The purchase price of such textbooks shall be paid directly to the publishers by the School Board.

Locally Approved Textbooks

In approving textbooks that have not been approved by the Virginia Board of Education, the School Board will also include a correlation of the content to the Virginia Standards of Learning in the content area and an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the textbook in terms of instructional planning and support when the textbooks pertain to Virginia Standards of Learning subjects.

The publishers of such textbooks shall

      • provide the School Board with certification that the content of the textbook is accurate and
      • sign an agreement with the School Board to correct all factual and editing errors found at its own expense.

The purchase of textbooks other than those approved by the Virginia Board of Education is not exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

Adopted: September 13, 2010
Revised: April 11, 2016

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1 238, 22.1-241.

Cross References

      • DJF: Purchasing Procedures
      • IIA: Instructional Materials
      • KQ: Commercial, Promotional, and Corporate Sponsorships and Partnerships

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IIAB: SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS SELECTION AND ADOPTION

Materials used by students under the guidance of teachers to extend, expand, and supplement basal materials constitute an integral part of the instructional program. Supplemental materials are those items which are used to assist the teaching and learning process and include such items as print and digital media, charts, pictures, certain workbooks, computer software, and games. Materials selected for supplemental use relate directly to the established objectives of the course or content area in which they are used.

The School Board delegates the responsibility for the selection and use of supplemental materials to the individual schools. Teachers and administrators must carefully review materials prior to use and exercise a high degree of professional judgment in their selection and use of supplemental materials, to ensure that the use of such materials serves to both support and complement the basic educational objectives within the specific subject areas and classrooms.

Adopted: September 13, 2010
Revised: May 12, 2014
Revised: July 8, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-16, 22.1-78.
      • 8 VAC 20-720-160

Cross References

      • IIA: Instructional Materials
      • IIAA: Textbook Selection, Adoption, and Purchase
      • KLB: Public Complaints About Learning Resources
      • KQ: Commercial, Promotional, and Corporate Sponsorships and Partnerships

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INNOVATIVE OR EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMS

Experimental and innovative programs that are not consistent with accreditation standards or other regulations promulgated by the Virginia Board of Education shall be submitted to the Virginia Board of Education for approval prior to implementation.

Adopted: February 11, 2013

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-78.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-290.

Cross References

      • IKF: Standards of Learning and Graduation Requirements

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IIBD: SCHOOL LIBRARIES/MEDIA CENTERS

Each school shall maintain an organized library media center as the resource center of the school and provide a unified program of media services and activities for students and teachers before, during, and after school. The library media center will contain hard copy, electronic technological resources, materials, and equipment that are sufficient to meet research, inquiry, and reading requirements of the instructional program and general student interest.

Each school provides a variety of materials, resources, and equipment to support the instructional program.

Adopted: May 28, 2013
Revised: May 14, 2018

Legal References

      • 8 VAC 20-131-190.

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IICA: FIELD TRIPS

Field trips are off-campus instructional activities or in some circumstances may be a "reward" trip. Field trips can provide excellent educational experiences for students by enriching the curriculum and by making classroom learning experiences more meaningful. To be educationally beneficial, a field trip requires thoughtful selection, careful advance preparation, and opportunities to assimilate the experience during and after the trip. Teachers will plan advance activities that prepare students for the trip and follow-up activities that assist students in summarizing, applying, and evaluating information learned on the trip.

The following factors should be considered in proposing and approving field trips:

      • The value of the trip to the particular class
      • The relationship of the field trip to a particular aspect of the curriculum
      • The distance traveled
      • The time away from the regular instructional program
      • The availability of transportation

No student will be denied the opportunity to participate in a field trip because of a lack of funds.

Trips will be approved by the school board or by the superintendent if the time frame falls between school board meetings pursuant to regulations developed by the superintendent. Approval must be obtained before commitments are made to students, parents, or commercial establishments.

Trips for activities governed by the Virginia High School League do not require approval on a trip-by-trip basis. Parental permission for such trips is obtained through parental signature of the VHSL Athletic Participation/Parental Consent/Physical Examination Form.

The Smyth County School Board does not endorse or accept responsibility for any privately sponsored trips for students or any student trips which are not part of the instructional program. Employees are not permitted to solicit students for such trips. Employees who are involved with such trips must emphasize to any interested student/parent that such trips are strictly private enterprises.

Adopted: April 28, 2009
Revised: January 14, 2013

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-70, 22.1-78, 22.1 176.

Cross References

      • JFCB: Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity

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IICA-R: FIELD TRIP GUIDELINES

The regulations below are developed in accordance with Policy IICA.

Elementary

      • Field trips must be educationally relevant and correlate with the Standards of Learning for the appropriate grade level.
      • Field trips outside the local area should be limited to two trips.
      • Additional field trips outside the local area may be approved by special permission only and these requests should be limited.
      • Extended day field trips will be approved on a case by case basis. Extended day trips should be avoided if possible.
      • Students should not be excluded from educational field trips.
      • All necessary provisions shall be made to protect the health, welfare, and safety of students, as well as to prevent any liability to the Smyth County School Board or its employees. In addition, all students should have a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian to participate in the field trip. For local (in-county) trips a single permission slip may be used if all of the possible trips are listed on the permission slip sent to the parent.
      • Principals may make additional exclusions based on valid educational reasons.

Middle and Secondary

      • Field trips must be educationally relevant and correlate with the Standards of Learning for the appropriate grade level or subject matter.
      • Field trips outside the local area should be limited to two trips per class or extracurricular organization. Exceptions to this would apply to athletics, performing arts, or other groups involved in competitions.
      • Additional field trips outside the local area may be approved by special permission only and these requests should be limited.
      • Extended day field trips will be approved on a case by case basis. Extended day trips should be avoided if possible.
      • Students should not be excluded from educational field trips.
      • Special consideration shall be given by field trip requestors and building level administrators to the impact a field trip may have on missed instructional time in other subjects not focused on by the field trip content.
      • All necessary provisions shall be made to protect the health, welfare, and safety of students, as well as to prevent any liability to the Smyth County School Board or its employees. In addition, all students should have a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian to participate in the field trip. For local (in-county) trips a single permission slip may be used if all of the possible trips are listed on the permission slip sent to the parent.
      • Principals may make additional exclusions based on valid educational reasons.

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School-Sponsored Trips

When planning and conducting school sponsored trips the following guidelines should be observed:

      1. When a large number of students participate, such as the senior trip, and which involves staying overnight, the principal or the assistant principal should accompany the group.
      2. Planning for school-sponsored trips should be a cooperative effort involving professional staff, students, and parents.
      3. All participating students and the parents thereof are to be clearly informed of expectations regarding conduct while on the trip.
      4. A sufficient number of faculty members and/or responsible adults are to be assigned to assure that students are appropriately chaperoned.
      5. Written permission from parents or guardians will be required for all academic field trips and school sponsored co-curricular activities requiring an overnight stay.
      6. A written emergency medical treatment and information form, to be taken on the trip, will be obtained from the parent/guardian of each student attending a school sponsored trip requiring an overnight stay.
      7. Each school is required to assure that adequate accident insurance coverage is in place for trips requiring an overnight stay. Participants may be charged a reasonable fee for such coverage.
      8. The school board must approve school-sponsored trips involving students staying the night.
      9. Applications for such trips must include information on how the trip involving overnight stays enhances the curriculum.
      10. Parents/guardians/volunteers/chaperones must have requested a search from the central registry from the Department of Social Services Child Protective Services and have been cleared as not being identified in the registry of found child abuse/neglect investigations as an involved caretaker with a founded disposition of child abuse/neglect. Records of such search will be maintained on file and may suffice for future trips. However, the superintendent and/or school principal may request an updated search.

Approved: January 14, 2019

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IICB/IICC: COMMUNITY RESOURCE PERSONS/SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS

The Smyth County School Board supports and encourages the active participation of parents and members of the community in providing and extending educational opportunities for children. The involvement of parents, volunteers, and others in the community who can serve as a resource to schools is a fundamentally important component of successful school programs. The administration of each school will direct the activities of parents, volunteers and other community resources at the building level.

Adopted: April 28, 2009

Revised: February 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-270.

Cross References

      • AD: Educational Philosophy
      • IGBC: Parent and Family Engagement
      • KA: Goals for School-Community Relations
      • KN: Sex Offender Registry Notification
      • KQ: Commercial, Promotional, and Corporate Sponsorships and Partnerships

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IJ: GUIDANCE AND COUNSELING PROGRAM

School Guidance and Counseling Services

Each school provides the following guidance and counseling services to all students:

      • Academic guidance which assists students and their parents to acquire knowledge of the curricula choices available to students, to plan a program of studies, to arrange and interpret academic testing and to seek post-secondary academic opportunities.
      • Career guidance which helps students to acquire information and plan action about work, jobs, apprenticeships and post-secondary educational and career opportunities.
      • Personal/social counseling which assists a student to develop an understanding of themselves, the rights and needs of others, how to resolve conflict and to define individual goals, reflecting their interests, abilities and aptitudes. Information and records of personal/social counseling will be kept confidential and separate from a student’s educational records and not disclosed to third parties without prior parental consent or as otherwise provided by law. Parents may elect, by notifying their child’s school in writing, to have their child not participate in personal/social counseling.

No student is required to participate in any counseling program to which the student’s parents object.

The guidance and counseling program does not include the use of counseling techniques which are beyond the scope of the professional certification or training of counselors, including hypnosis, or other psychotherapeutic techniques that are normally employed in medical or clinical settings and focus on mental illness or psychopathology. Parents are notified annually about the counseling programs which are available to their children. The notification will include the purpose and general description of the programs, information regarding ways parents may review materials to be used in guidance and counseling programs at their child’s school and information about the procedures by which parents may limit their child’s participation in such programs.

Employment Counseling and Placement Services

The School Board provides to secondary students employment counseling and placement services to furnish information relating to the employment opportunities available to students graduating from or leaving the schools in the school division. Such information includes all types of employment opportunities, including, but not limited to, apprenticeships, the military, career education schools and colleges/universities. In providing such services, the School Board consults and cooperates with the Virginia Employment Commission, the Department of Labor and Industry, local business and labor organizations and career schools.

The School Board provides to secondary students employment counseling and placement services to furnish information relating to the employment opportunities available to students graduating from or leaving the schools in the school division. Such information includes all types of employment opportunities, including, but not limited to, apprenticeships, the military, career education schools and colleges/universities. In providing such services, the School Board consults and cooperates with the Virginia Employment Commission, the Department of Labor and Industry, local business and labor organizations and career schools.

If the School Board provides access to one or more of its high schools and contact with such high school’s student body or other contact with its high school students during a school or school division-sponsored activity to persons or groups for occupational, professional or educational recruitment, it provides equal access on the same basis to official recruiting representatives of the military forces of the Commonwealth and the United States.

Academic and Career Plans

Schools develop a personal Academic and Career Plan for each seventh-grade student with completion by the fall of the student’s eighth-grade year. Plans are developed for students who transfer from other than a Virginia public school into the eighth grade as soon as practicable following enrollment. Students who transfer into a Virginia public school after their eighth-grade year have an Academic and Career Plan developed upon enrollment.

The components of the Plan include, but are not limited to, the student’s program of study for high school graduation and a post-secondary career pathway based on the student’s academic and career interests.

The Academic and Career Plan is developed in accordance with guidelines established by the Board of Education and signed by the student, student’s parent or guardian and school official(s) designated by the principal. The Plan is included in the student’s record and is reviewed and updated, if necessary, before the student enters the ninth and eleventh grades. The school meets its obligation for parental involvement if it makes a good faith effort to notify the parent or guardian of the responsibility for the development and approval of the Plan.

Adopted: May 12, 2014
Revised: July 10, 2017
Revised: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-130.1, 22.1 209.
      • 8 VAC 20-620-10.

Cross References

      • IGAD: Career and Technical Education
      • IJD: College and Career Readiness
      • JO: Student Records

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IJD: COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS

Each middle and secondary school provides for the early identification and enrollment of students in a program with a range of educational and academic experiences related to college and career readiness in and outside the classroom, including an emphasis on experiences that will motivate disadvantaged and minority students to prepare for a career or postsecondary education.

Each elementary, middle, and secondary school provides for the identification by all students of personal interests and abilities to support planning for postsecondary opportunities and career preparation. Such support includes provision of information concerning exploration of career cluster areas in elementary schools, and course information and planning for college preparation programs, opportunities for educational and academic experiences in and outside the classroom, including internships and work-based learning, and the multiple pathways to college and career readiness in middle and high school.

Beginning in the elementary school years, students explore the different occupations associated with career clusters and select an area or areas of interest. Students begin the development of an academic and career plan portfolio (ACPP) in elementary grades to include information about interests, values such as dependability and responsibility, and skills supporting decisions about their future interests and goals. The information contained in the ACPP serves as the foundation for creating the Academic and Career Plan (ACP) in grade 7.

In middle school, students complete a locally selected career interest inventory and select a career pathway. To support development of the ACP, students complete at least one course in career investigation selected from the career and technical education state-approved list, or a school division-provided alternative means of delivering the career investigation course content, provided that the alternative is equivalent in content and academic rigor.

The School Board may require such courses in career investigation at the high school level as it deems appropriate, subject to approval by the Board of Education. The School Board may require such courses in career investigation at the elementary school level as it deems appropriate.

All schools continue development of a personal ACP with each seventh-grade student with completion by the end of the fall semester of the student's eighth-grade year. The components of the ACP include the student's program of study for high school graduation and a postsecondary career pathway based on the student's academic and career interests. In high school, a career-related learning experience is chosen by the student and documented in the ACP.

The ACP is developed in accordance with guidelines established by the Board of Education and signed by the student, student's parent or guardian, and school official or officials designated by the principal. The ACP is included in the student's record and is reviewed and updated annually.

Beginning in the middle school years, students are counseled on opportunities for beginning postsecondary education and opportunities for obtaining industry certifications, occupational competency credentials, or professional licenses in a career and technical education field prior to high school graduation as described in Policy LEB Advanced/Alternative Courses for Credit. Such opportunities include access to at least three Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge courses or three college-level courses for degree credit pursuant to 8 VAC 20-131-100. Students taking advantage of such opportunities are not denied participation in school activities for which they are otherwise eligible. Wherever possible, students are encouraged and afforded opportunities to take college courses simultaneously for high school graduation and college degree credit (dual enrollment), under the following conditions:

      1. Written approval of the high school principal prior to participation in dual enrollment must be obtained;
      2. The college must accept the student for admission to the course or courses; and
      3. The course or courses must be given by the college for degree credits (no remedial courses will be accepted).

Adopted: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-253.13:1, 22.1-253.13:3.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-140.
      • Guidelines for Academic and Career Plans (Adopted by the Virginia Board of Education Sept 17, 2009).

Cross References

      • IGAD: Career and Technical Education
      • IJ: Guidance and Counseling Program
      • JO: Student Records
      • LEB: Advanced/Alternative Courses for Credit

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IKA: PARENTAL ASSISTANCE WITH INSTRUCTION

The Smyth County School Board encourages parents to provide instructional assistance to their children in the home. The school division may offer a voluntary training program to the parents of children in kindergarten through third grade to assist them in developing the skills necessary to provide effective instructional assistance to their children.

Adopted: May 12, 2014

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:7.C.5.

Cross References

      • IGBC: Parent and Family Engagement
      • IKB: Homework

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IKEB: ACCELERATION

The curriculum and schedule of elementary, middle and high schools provides flexibility in placing certain students in programs or subjects normally considered above their grade level. Scheduling eighth grade students into subjects above the normal grade level is done with counseling based on evidence of ability, past scholastic achievement, and cooperation of the individual student and his parents or guardian.

When students below the ninth grade successfully complete courses offered for credit in grades 9 through 12, credit is counted toward meeting the standard units required for graduation, provided the courses are equivalent in content and academic rigor as those courses offered at the secondary level. To earn a verified unit of credit for these courses, students below ninth grade level must meet the same requirements applicable to other students.

In any high school credit-bearing course taken in middle school, a parent may request that the grade be omitted from the student’s transcript and the student not earn high school credit for the course. The request must be in writing, signed and dated by the parent/legal guardian and the student. The request must be made before the next school year begins.

A verified credit earned by passing the SOL end-of-course test may not be awarded if the grade has been removed from the student‘s transcript. If the student repeats and passes the course, the verified credit will be awarded and the student will not be required to retake the SOL end-of-course test for that course.

Ninth grade and above classes taken at the eighth grade level shall not be included in the determination of high school grade point averages.

Adopted: May 9, 2011
Revised: July 13, 2015
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78., 22.1-253.13:3
      • 8 VAC 20-131-50.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-51.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-90.

Cross References

      • IGBB: Programs for Gifted Students
      • Student Records
      • JOA: Student Transcripts

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IKF: THE VIRGINIA ASSESSMENT PROGRAM AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

The Virginia Board of Education has established educational objectives known as the Standards of Learning (solS), which form the core of Virginia‘s educational program, and other education objectives, which together are designed to ensure the development of the skills that are necessary for success in school and in preparation for life in the years beyond.

The Smyth County School Board has developed and implemented a program of instruction that is aligned to the Standards of Learning and that meets or exceeds the requirements of the Board of Education. It awards diplomas to all secondary school students, including students who transfer from nonpublic schools or from home instruction, who meet the requirements prescribed by the Board of Education and meet such other requirements as are prescribed by the School Board and approved by the Board of Education. Graduation requirements for Smyth County Public Schools are included in the Smyth County High School Program of Studies.

The Smyth County School Board awards diplomas and certificates in accordance with state laws and regulations. The requirements for a student to earn a diploma and graduate from high school are those in effect when the student enters ninth grade for the first time.

Virginia Assessment Program

In grades 3-8, where the administration of Virginia Assessment Program tests are required by the Virginia Board of Education, each student is expected to take the tests following instruction. Students who are accelerated take the test aligned with the highest grade level, following instruction in the content. No student takes more than one test in any content area in each year, except in the case of expedited retakes as provided for in 8 VAC 20-131-30. Schools use the test results in grades 3-8 as part of a set of multiple criteria for determining the promotion or retention of students.

Each student in middle and secondary school takes all applicable end-of-course SOL tests following course instruction. The superintendent certifies to the Department of Education that the division’s policy for dropping courses ensures that students’ course schedules are not changed to avoid end-of-course SOL tests. Students who achieve a passing score on an end-of-course SOL test will be awarded a verified unit of credit in that course in accordance with 8 VAC 20-131-110. Students may earn verified credits in any courses for which end-of-course SOL tests are available. Students are not required to take an end-of-course SOL test in an academic subject after they have earned the number of verified credits required for that academic content area for graduation unless such test is necessary in order for the school to meet federal accountability requirements. Middle and secondary schools may consider the student‘s end-of-course SOL test score in determining the student‘s final course grade.

Participation in the Virginia Assessment Program by students with disabilities is prescribed by provisions in their Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. All students with disabilities are assessed with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary.

Any student identified as an English Learner (EL) participates in the Virginia Assessment Program. A school-based committee convenes and makes determinations regarding the participation level of EL students in the Virginia Assessment Program. In kindergarten through eighth grade, EL students may be granted a one-time exemption from SOL testing in the areas of writing, and history and social science.

Definitions

Authentic Performance Assessment

An “Authentic Performance Assessment” is a test that complies with guidelines adopted by the Board of Education that requires students to perform a task or create a product that is typically scored using a rubric.

Standard Unit of Credit

A “standard unit of credit” or “standard credit” is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. A standard unit of credit may also be awarded based on a waiver of the 140-clock hour requirement as provided in Policy IKFD Alternative Paths to Attaining Standard Units of Credit.

Verified Unit of Credit

A verified unit of credit for graduation is based on a minimum of 140 clock hours of instruction, successful completion of the requirements of the course, and the achievement by the student of a passing score on the end-of-course SOL test for that course or additional tests as described below.

A “verified unit of credit” or “verified credit” is a credit awarded for a course in which a student earns a standard unit of credit and completes one of the following:

      1. Achieves a passing scores on a corresponding end-of-course SOL test.
      2. Achieves a passing score on an additional test, as defined in 8 VAC 20-131-5, as a part of the Virginia Assessment Program.
      3. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit when the student has not passed a corresponding SOL test.
      4. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit in history and social science by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment that complies with guidelines adopted by the Board of Education.
      5. Meets the criteria for the receipt of a verified credit for English (writing) by demonstrating mastery of the content of the associated course on an authentic performance assessment that complies with guidelines adopted by the Board of Education.

Students may also earn verified credits by taking alternative tests to the SOL assessment. Such tests may only be those approved by the Virginia Board of Education, and the student may earn verified credits only by achieving the score established by the Virginia Board of Education.

Virginia Assessment Program

The “Virginia Assessment Program” is a system used to evaluate student achievement that includes SOL tests and additional tests that may be approved from time to time by the Board of Education.

Adopted: July 11, 2011
Revised: August 12, 2013
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: July 31, 2018
Revised: August 12, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-253.13:1, 22.1-253.13:3, 22.1-253.13:4.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-5.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-30.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-50.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-51.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-110.
      • Guidelines for Graduation Requirements; Local Alternative Paths to Standard Units of Credit (Virginia Board of Education Oct. 2015)

Cross References

      • IAA: Notification of Learning Objectives
      • IKFA: Locally Awarded Verified Credits
      • IKFD: Alternative Paths to Attaining Standard Units of Credit
      • IKH: Retaking SOL Assessments
      • Smyth County High School Program of Studies

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IKFA: LOCALLY AWARDED VERIFIED CREDITS

The Smyth County School Board awards verified credits in accordance with Virginia law and Virginia Board of Education regulations.

Review Panels

The review panel will consist of a central office administrator, a building level administrator or guidance counselor, the classroom teacher, one additional teacher from the subject matter being considered for a locally verified credit, and any other staff members deemed necessary to make an informed decision.

The local review panel will review evidence of the student‘s achievement of adequate knowledge of the Standards of Learning content. The panel will have discretion in determining the information it will consider. That information may include, but is not limited to, results of classroom assignments, division-wide exams, course grades, and additional academic assignments (e.g. papers, projects, essays or written questions) as the panel deems appropriate. The decision of the local review panel will be final.

Based on the evidence it reviews, the local review panel may:

      • award the verified credit;
      • deny the verified credit;
      • suggest participation in a remedial program and retesting; or
      • make additional academic assignments prior to determining whether to award the verified credit.

The decision of the review panel will be final.

Adopted: October 12, 2009
Revised: July 29, 2013
Revised: November 11, 2013
Revised: April 14, 2014
Revised: July 11, 2016
Revised: November 12, 2018

Revised: August 12, 2019

 

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, 22.1-253.13:3.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-110.
      • Revised Guidance Governing the Use of Locally-Awarded Verified Credits. (Virginia Department of Education May 11, 2018) (attachment to Virginia Department of Education Superintendent’s Memo No. 130-18 (May 11, 2018)).

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IKFD: ALTERNATIVE PATHS TO ATTAINING STANDARD UNITS OF CREDIT

Students who enroll in high school as freshmen before July 1, 2018, as sophomores before July 1, 2019, as juniors before July 1, 2020 or as seniors before July 1, 2021 are required to earn standard and verified units of credit as specified in the regulations of the Board of Education. A “standard unit of credit” or “standard credit” is a credit awarded for a course in which the student successfully completes 140 clock hours of instruction and the requirements of the course. The Smyth County School Board recognizes that instruction, learning and outcomes equivalent to those achieved in 140 clock hours of instruction can be attained in a variety of ways. Therefore, the School Board waives the requirement that a student receive 140 clock hours of instruction to earn a standard unit of credit as provided below. The total number of standard credits that can be achieved via the waiver option is 8. Students may earn fractional credits via waiver.

Waivers are available for all secondary courses including Virginia Board of Education approved courses, Career and Technical education courses and local elective courses. Elective courses must be approved by the School Board, be explicitly described in the division’s secondary course of study and have clearly defined and publicly available learning objectives commensurate in scope and detail with state learning standards and competencies.

In order to attain a standard unit of credit by means of a waiver of the 140-clock-hour requirement:

      • the outcomes of the work for which standard credit is awarded must be equal to progress and learning achieved in 140 clock hours of instruction;
      • upon completion of the assigned work for the course, a student must have demonstrated mastery by meeting specific objectives and performance requirements of the course that match or exceed the expectations of students who have received 140 clock hours of instruction with similar standards, competencies or objectives; and
      • the evidence of mastery of the pertinent content and skills for a student receiving a waiver must be fully documented, retained securely by the school division and available for review by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) on request.

Procedures

Criteria for awarding a waiver of the 140-clock-hour requirement for the course must be clear, objective and clearly communicated to the student and the student’s parents prior to a student embarking on the effort.

The consequences of standard credits achieved by waiver with regard to class rank, grade point average and extracurricular eligibility must also be clearly defined and communicated to students and parents before a student embarks on the effort.

A student must receive approval from the school principal1 before pursuing the work, task or assessment that is required to meet the waiver criteria.

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to seek standard units of credit via waiver of the 140-clock-hour requirement.

Students are eligible to seek standard units of credit via waiver of the 140-clock hour requirement as determined by the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction or designee.

Miscellaneous

The superintendent will identify a process for developing accommodations for students with limited English proficiency.

Pursuit of credit by waiver by students with disabilities will be prescribed by the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan.

Students who attain credit by waiver of the 140-clock-hour requirement will receive a grade for the course.

The fact that a student has received credit via waiver will be reflected on the student's transcript.

A student who is pursuing credit via waiver is enrolled in the relevant course for purposes of determining eligibility for extracurricular activities.

Waiver Pathway Options

Waivers are available by three pathways.

      1. Courses that award a standard credit and have less than 140 clock hours of instruction—For students attaining standard units of credit by this waiver method, the school division maintains documentation based on this policy that defines its rationale for the reduction of instructional time and substantive evidence that it provides equivalent instruction with equivalent outcomes in the reduced clock hours.
      2. Independent study, work sample portfolio, demonstrated performance and locally developed or Standards of Learning assessment—Evidence of the student's learning must encompass a comprehensive assemblage of media products, artifacts, and performance that demonstrates the student has mastered academically rigorous material and meets or exceeds approved learning standards, competencies or objectives for the course. The required content and evaluative criteria for the products must be defined prior to the advent of student work and based on the same objectives as the standard course. The assemblage of evidence and overall process must be managed by a licensed and endorsed teacher in the area of the coursework with a series of program checkpoints throughout a specified timeline for the study. The checkpoints and timeline must be clearly articulated and communicated to the student. The managing teacher2 must determine whether the work is of commensurate depth and quality as work performed in the traditional secondary classroom and meets predefined evaluative criteria communicated to the student. The student must meet a predefined performance level on a locally-developed assessment for the coursework. This may be an oral examination, performance (e.g., recital/concert), written test or some other objective tool or process developed by the school division. Applicable Standards of Learning assessments may also be used for this purpose.
      3. Demonstrated achievement via national or international assessments—The assessment must:
        • have a standardized administration;
        • be determined to be valid and reliable by an external body;
        • be used in other states or internationally; and
        • be scored independently of the school division.
        Before a waiver may be granted under this option, the division must have completed a rigorous review of the assessment, in accordance with this policy, and determined that it is aligned with the course objectives for which the waiver is being requested. The division determines a qualifying score for awarding a standard credit that equates with mastery of the course content and skills and communicates that score to the student. The student must provide evidence to the school principal or the principal's designee through performance, product, interview and/or school staff professional judgment that the student has some command of the course content and should be allowed to demonstrate mastery-level performance for a standard credit. The superintendent will develop a process for determining a qualifying score for awarding a standard credit that equates with mastery of the course content and skills. A student may attempt to achieve the qualifying score 2 times per class. If the division selects an assessment that has a monetary cost, it will ensure equitable access to this option for all students.

Appeal Process

The superintendent shall appoint a review panel comprised of at least three educators to resolve disputes regarding the attainment of standard units of credit via waivers in accordance with this policy. Different panels may be appointed for individual schools or groups of schools.

The panel may review whether a student was properly denied permission to seek a standard unit of credit via waiver and whether a student was properly denied a standard unit of credit after having been determined to be eligible to seek the standard unit of credit via waiver

Based on the evidence it reviews, the review panel may:

      • award the standard credit
      • deny the standard credit
      • make additional assignments prior to determining whether to award the standard credit

The decision of the review panel will be final.

Continuing Role of State Assessments

While the division may use the Standards of Learning assessments for awarding a standard credit as outlined above, the Standards of Learning assessments will continue to be used in their traditional role as determiners of awarding verified credits.

Adopted: September 10, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-253.13:4.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-110.
      • Guidelines for Graduation Requirements; Local Alternative Paths to Standard Units of Credit, Virginia Board of Education (Oct. 2015).

Cross References

      • IAA Notification of Learning Objectives
      • IGBG Homebound, Correspondence and Alternative Means of Instruction
      • IGBGA On Line Courses and Virtual School Programs
      • IGBF Limited English Proficient Students
      • IKEB Acceleration
      • IKF The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements
      • IKFA Locally Awarded Verified Credits
      • JO Student Records

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IKG: REMEDIATION RECOVERY PROGRAM

The Smyth County School Board supports efforts to provide instructional support to those students who have demonstrated a need for such support by their failure to pass certain Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. Therefore, Smyth County School Board has implemented a Remediation Recovery Program as established by the Virginia Department of Education. Remediation recovery is a program which encourages successful remediation of students who do not pass certain SOL tests in grades 3-8 and high school English and mathematics. In kindergarten through grade 12, students may participate in a remediation recovery program as established by the Board of Education in English (reading) or mathematics or both.

Students who fail the grades 3 through 7 reading and/or mathematics SOL tests and participate in a remediation recovery program after being promoted to the next grade will not retake the failed test or tests.

Students who fail either the grade 8 reading or mathematics SOL test, or an end-of-course English or mathematics test, and participate in a remediation recovery program will continue to retake the applicable SOL test at the next regularly scheduled administration.

Schools shall maintain evidence of a student‘s participation in a remediation recovery program along with the scores of any SOL tests taken following remediation in the student‘s record.

The following students are ineligible for the remediation recovery program:

      • Students in grade 8 who are retested because they were retained and had not previously passed the grade 8 test in reading or mathematics.
      • Students who retake an end-of-course test as a result of failing and retaking an English or mathematics course at the high school level.

Adopted: October 11, 2010
Revised: August 12, 2013
Revised: November 12, 2018

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1–253.13:1.
      • 8 VAC 20-131-30.
      • Guidance Governing Certain Provisions of the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public School in Virginia 8 VAC 20-131 (Virginia Board of Education as amended January 13, 2011).

Cross References

      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements
      • IKH: Retaking SOL Assessments
      • IL: Testing Programs

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IKH: RETAKING SOL ASSESSMENTS

Students in kindergarten through grade 8 are not required to retake Standards of Learning (SOL) Virginia Assessment Program tests unless they are retained in grade and have not previously passed the related tests or as otherwise permitted by the Board of Education. Students in high school are not required to retake end-of-course SOL tests as determined by the Board of Education.

 

Adopted: October 11, 2010
Revised: May 28, 2013
Revised: October 10, 2016
Revised: November 12, 2018
Revised: August 12, 2019
 

Legal References

        • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-253.13:3
      • 8 VAC 20-131-30
      • 8 VAC 20-131-110

Cross References

      • IKF: The Virginia Assessment Program and Graduation Requirements
      • IKG: Remediation Recovery Program
      • IL: Testing Programs

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IL: TESTING PROGRAMS

A program of standardized testing prescribed by the Virginia Department of Education is administered annually. Standardized tests are administered according to state and local directives. In administering tests or other assessment instruments, school board employees do not require any public school students being tested to disclose their race or ethnicity on such tests. School division personnel, however, may obtain such information from a student’s permanent record and place the information on the test or assessment.

No student or his parent is required to disclose information related to the student’s race or ethnicity unless (i) the student or his parent is given an option to designate “other” for the students race or ethnicity or (ii) such disclosure is required by federal law.

Adopted: March 23, 2009
Revised: June 28, 2011
Revised: December 14, 2015
Revised: March 11, 2019

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-4.2, 22.1-253.13:3.

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INB: TEACHING ABOUT CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

The Smyth County School Board recognizes that preparation for effective citizenship is one of the major purposes of education. The preparation for effective citizenship includes the study of issues that are controversial. Such study will be carried out in an atmosphere free from bias, prejudice, or coercion.

In teaching about controversial issues, teachers are expected to:

      • Establish a learning environment where each student can study the issues within a curriculum that is appropriate to his or her knowledge and maturity; and
      • Provide instruction in an atmosphere that is free from bias, prejudice, or coercion.

Although the instructional program includes study of the political party system in the United States, the School Board does not endorse any political party or candidate.

Adopted: August 13, 2012

Legal References

      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, § 22.1-78.

Cross References

      • KF: Distribution of Information/Materials

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INDC: RELIGION IN THE SCHOOLS

The Smyth County School Board is neutral in matters of religion. This means that Smyth County Public Schools

      • assume no role or responsibility for the religious training of any student and
      • do not become involved in the religious belief, disbelief or doubt of any student.

This neutrality does not preclude or hinder Smyth County Public Schools in fulfilling its responsibility to educate students to be tolerant and respectful of religious diversity. The division recognizes that one of its educational responsibilities is to advance the students’ knowledge and appreciation of the role that religion has played in the social, cultural and historical development of civilization.

Therefore, the division approaches religion from an objective, curriculum-related perspective, encouraging all students and staff members to be aware of the diversity of beliefs and respectful of each other’s religious and/or non-religious views. In that spirit of respect, students and staff members may be excused from participating in activities that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

Adopted: May 12, 2014

Legal References

      • U.S. Const. amend. I.
      • Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, §§ 22.1-78, 22.1-202.1.

         

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IZ: GRADING SCALE

Kindergarten (Elementary)

      • S = Satisfactory
      • I = Improving, but not mastered
      • N = Needs Improving

Grades 1-2 (Elementary)

      • A = Superior
      • B = Good
      • C = Average
      • D = Poor
      • U = Unsatisfactory
      Art, music, and physical education grades are:
      • S = Satisfactory
      • U = Unsatisfactory
      Handwriting grades will be given in Kindergarten and Grade 1 using the following grading scale:
      • S = Satisfactory
      • U = Unsatisfactory

Grades 3-5 (Elementary)

      • A = 93–100
      • B = 85–92
      • C = 77–84
      • D = 70–76
      • F = Below 70
      Art, music, and physical education grades are:
      • S = Satisfactory
      • U = Unsatisfactory

Grades 6-8 (Middle)

      • A = 93–100
      • B = 85–92
      • C = 77–84
      • D = 70–76
      • F = Below 70

Grades for exploratory classes are:

      • S = Satisfactory
      • U = Unsatisfactory

Grades 9-12 (Secondary)

      • A = 93–100
      • B = 85–92
      • C = 77–84
      • D = 70–76
      • F = Below 70

Grade Scale Exception

If an institution which includes but is not limited to Linwood Holton Governor’s School, Southwest Virginia Governor’s School, Virginia Highlands Community College, Wytheville Community College, and virtual providers, uses a grade scale which is not congruent with the ones approved by the Smyth County School Board, Smyth County Schools will recognize the grade and the grading scale as provided by the sending institution. If an instructor is teaching a course (ex. dual enrollment) for another institution other than Smyth County Public Schools and that institution or instructional department does not have a defined grade scale, then the Smyth County grade scale will be in effect.

Adopted: October 8, 2012

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IZA: Grade Promotion and Retention

Elementary

Promotion or retention of Smyth County Public School elementary students shall be based on what will result in the greatest good for the student. Factors that Smyth County educators will consider in making promotion/retention decisions include, but are not limited to, Standards of Learning test results, academic progress, ability, attendance, classroom performance, chronological age, physical, social and emotional development, and work study habits.

Students entering school for the first time must be placed in kindergarten. Any exception to this initial placement policy must receive the written approval of the superintendent.

When a teacher observes a pupil with academic skill deficiencies which may lead to retention, the teacher will consult with school personnel to develop strategies to remediate the deficiencies and improve academic achievement. The teacher will timely communicate the concerns with the child‘s parent either through conferences or written correspondence. Data will be collected throughout the year to support decisions regarding promotion/retention.

In evaluating promotion or retention, consideration shall be given to the following factors:

      1. Achievement in Relation to Ability
        1. Reading and/or math performance levels
        2. Test results (SOL, MAP, Benchmark, etc.)
        3. Previous retention
        4. Ability to work on grade level
      2. Maturity
        1. Social
        2. Physical
          1. size
          2. age
        3. Emotional
      3. Environment
        1. Parental factors
          1. attitude
          2. support
        2. Motivation
        3. Work habits
        4. Attendance record

The primary responsibility for determining the student‘s readiness for the next grade level belongs to the classroom teacher; however, the final decision on promotion, placement, or retention remains with the principal with input from teachers and other stakeholders.

Promotion/retention of ESL students will also take into consideration English proficiency and cultural factors. Decisions should include consultation with the ESL Coordinator.

Promotion/retention of students with disabilities will be consistent with the above mentioned items and take into consideration the child‘s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

After the above factors have been considered, the final grades shall reflect either promotion, placed, or retention. As a guideline, a student should pass a majority of the basic skill subjects which includes reading, language arts, science, social studies, and mathematics.

Procedure for Retention

Prior to the end of the first reporting period, principals will meet with the faculty to review and discuss the standards for promotion and to review the retention policy. During the first semester, parent-teacher conferences, notes to parents and telephone calls in addition to report cards, will be used to communicate the student‘s progress to parents.

Principals will schedule conferences with classroom teachers to review the academic progress of students and to identify each student who is a candidate for retention no later than March 15th. Conferences with parents shall be arranged at this time.

A Light‘s Retention Scale will be completed for all students who are a retention consideration to determine whether the student is a good candidate for retention.

The final decision regarding retention of a student for academic reasons shall be made during the last fifteen school days of the school year. Written notification of retention, with an appropriate explanation, must be issued from the principal‘s office to the parents prior to the final teacher workday.

All correspondence and minutes of meetings related to retention shall be kept by school officials.

Middle Grades 6-8

Promotion from one grade to the next will be based on mastery of skills and content for the particular grade level. These decisions will be based on the following considerations in determining whether a student should be promoted or retained. A Light‘s Retention Scale will be completed for all students who are a retention consideration to determine whether the student is a good candidate for retention.

      1. Classroom achievement
      2. Results from the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests
      3. Previous retention(s)
      4. Attendance
      5. Current IEP or 504 Plan

In order for a middle school student to be promoted, the student must pass the equivalent of four full-year courses, three of which must be in the academic core subjects. The subject areas include the following:

      1. Academic/Core Subjects
        1. Language Arts
        2. Mathematics
        3. Science
        4. Social Studies
      2. Exploratory
      3. Electives
      4. Physical Education

If a student fails language arts or mathematics, it is recommended that the student be scheduled in an English or math intervention program as specified by the principal. The final decision as to whether a student is retained, placed, or promoted will rest with the principal with input from teachers and other stakeholders.

Secondary

Upon completion of the eighth grade a student is promoted to the ninth grade. The student must earn six units of credit before being promoted to the tenth grade, twelve units before being promoted to the eleventh grade, and eighteen units before being promoted to the twelfth grade.

Student grade classification will be determined prior to the beginning of each school year. Grade classification shall not change during the school year.

Students shall not be permitted to enroll in English 9 and English 10, in English 10 and English 11, in English 11 and English 12, or in U.S. History and U.S. Government during the same school year unless an English course or the U.S. History course are repeat subjects, needed for early graduation, used to help a student stay on track for graduation, or unusual scheduling problems arise.

Adopted: November 11, 2013

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IZB: Tests and Examinations

Student assessments are a critical function of the teaching and learning process. The school division uses formative and summative assessments to provide feedback to students, parents, teachers, and the school as to the progress a student is making.

In addition to classroom assessments such as projects, quizzes, and unit tests, students may participate in benchmark tests, computer adaptive tests, PALs assessment, and other assessments as determined by the school, school division, state, or federal government.

The length of test should be reasonable and appropriate for the age of the child. Students should be provided an adequate number of assessments so that in a given grading period a true picture of their progress can be provided to the student, teacher, school, and parent.

Elementary

Tests shall be administered to students in grades kindergarten through five when appropriate for student evaluation.

Middle

In grades six and seven, unit tests are administered when appropriate. Cumulative graded tests longer than a unit test are not to be administered. In grade eight, cumulative examinations may be administered in courses. Due to the cumulative nature of the Standards of Learning assessments, teachers may choose to end a semester with a unit test, project, writing assignment, performance, or other authentic assessment. If a cumulative examination is given, the examination should not exceed one hour in length and should carry a grade value of ten percent (10%) or less of the semester grade. If a cumulative examination is given in a course, the principal must approve the test prior to being given.

Secondary

In grades nine through twelve, cumulative examinations may be administered in a class. Due to the cumulative nature of SOL assessments, CTE licensure and certification assessments, Advanced Placement Exams, and similar cumulative assessments provided by the state or other organizations, teachers with the approval of the building principal may choose to end a semester with a unit test, project, writing assignment, performance or other authentic assessment. If a cumulative examination is given, the examination should not exceed one and one half hours in length. The examination should carry a grade value of ten percent (10%) or less of the semester grade. If a teacher and an individual student agree ahead of time, the teacher may count the exam as 25% of the grade if it will benefit the student. Students, who have earned an exemption in a course, have the opportunity to take the exams to improve their final grades without negatively impacting their final grade.

Refusal to take an end of course Standards of Learning assessment (regular test session or expedited retake) or Career and Technical Education assessment will result in required final exam.

Dual enrollment courses must follow the examination policy of the community college in which they are enrolled.

Adopted: January 12, 2015

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IZC: Graduation and Diploma Requirements

The Smyth County School Board will recognize the successful completion of the secondary school instructional program by the awarding of a state-endorsed diploma certifying the student has met all State and local requirements for high school graduation.

The requirements for a student to earn a diploma are those in effect when the student enters ninth grade for the first time. The web link provided will take you to Virginia’s Standards of Accreditation which contain the state-endorsed graduation requirements: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/graduation/.

The Standards of Accreditation also require that students take end-of-course or approved substitute course tests in specified courses in English, mathematics, science, and history/social sciences. The end-of-course tests are known as the Standard of Learning (SOL) Tests and are administered in the core areas of the curriculum. When a student passes the classes and the corresponding SOL test, the student earns a verified credit.

TYPES OF DIPLOMAS

ADVANCED STUDIES DIPLOMA

Students must earn 27 standard units of credit and nine (9) verified credits.

Discipline Area Standard Units of Credit Required Verified Credits Required
English 4 2
*Composition 1  
Mathematics 4 2
Laboratory Science 4 2
History & Social Science 4 2
Foreign Language 3  
Health & Physical Education 2  
Fine Arts or CTE 1  
Electives 3  
Economics and Personal Finance 1  
Student Selected Test   1
Total 27 9

*This requirement may be satisfied by satisfactory completion of an advanced composition class, a course in journalism, or by completion of three honors English classes from any English 9, 10, 11, or AP English 12.

To earn an Advanced Studies Diploma, students must complete a mathematics sequence which includes Algebra I, two courses above the level of Algebra I, and a science sequence which includes units of credit in at least three (3) of the following subjects: (1) earth science, (2) biology, (3) chemistry, (4) physics. Fine arts or practical arts courses must be selected from a list of courses approved for graduation requirements by the State Board of Education.

STANDARD DIPLOMA

Students must earn 22 standard units of credit and six (6) verified credits.

Discipline Area Standard Units of Credit Required Verified Credits Required
English 4 2
Mathematics 3 1
Laboratory Science 3 1
History & Social Science 3 1
Health & Physical Education 2  
Foreign Language, Fine Arts or CTE 2  
Electives 4  
Economics and Personal Finance 1  
Student Selected Test   1
Total 22 6

MODIFIED STANDARD DIPLOMA

This diploma is intended for certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and are unlikely to meet the credit requirements for a Standard Diploma. The student‘s Individual Education Program (IEP) team and the student‘s parents determine eligibility and participation at any point after the student’s 8th grade year.

Students must earn 20 units of credit and pass literacy and numeracy competency assessments. Students entering the 9th grade must meet the established passing scaled score approved by the Virginia Board of Education for the 8th grade English (Reading, Literature, and Research) and Mathematics SOL tests to meet the literacy and numeracy requirements. Students may substitute a higher level SOL test (i.e., end of course English Reading, Algebra I, Algebra II, or Geometry) for the 8th grade SOL tests in English (Reading, Literature, and Research) and mathematics or other substitute test approved by the Virginia Board of Education.

Discipline Area Standard Units of Credit Required
English 4
Mathematics 3
Science 2
History and Social Science 2
Health and Physical Education 2
Foreign Language, Fine Arts or CTE 1
Electives 6
Total 20

SPECIAL DIPLOMA

This diploma is intended for certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and do not meet the requirements for other diplomas. The student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team and the student’s parents determine eligibility and participation in this diploma program. For a student to earn a Special Diploma, he/she must complete the requirements of the Individual Educational Program.

TYPES OF DIPLOMAS
Students Who Entered Ninth Grade Fall 2013 and After

ADVANCED STUDIES DIPLOMA

Students must earn 27 standard units of credit and nine (9) verified credits. A student must successfully complete one virtual course, which may be noncredit-bearing, to graduate with an Advanced Studies Diploma.

Discipline Area Standard Units of Credit Required Verified Credits Required
English 4 2
*Composition 1  
Mathematics 4 2
Laboratory Science 4 2
History & Social Science 4 2
Foreign Language 3  
Health & Physical Education 2  
Fine Arts or CTE 1  
Electives 3  
Economics and Personal Finance 1  
Student Selected Test   1
Total 27 9

*This requirement may be satisfied by satisfactory completion of an advanced composition class, a course in journalism, or by completion of three honors English classes from any English 9, 10, 11, or AP English 12.

To earn an Advanced Studies Diploma, students must complete a mathematics sequence which includes Algebra I, two courses above the level of Algebra I, and a science sequence which includes units of credit in at least three (3) of the following subjects: (1) earth science, (2) biology, (3) chemistry, (4) physics. Fine arts or practical arts courses must be selected from a list of courses approved for graduation requirements by the State Board of Education.

STANDARD DIPLOMA

Students must earn 22 standard units of credit and six (6) verified credits. A student must earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Virginia Board of Education to graduate with a Standard Diploma. The credential could include, but not be limited to, the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment. A student must also successfully complete one virtual course, which may be noncredit-bearing, to graduate with a Standard Diploma.

Discipline Area Standard Units of Credit Required Verified Credits Required
English 4 2
Mathematics 3 1
Laboratory Science 3 1
History & Social Science 3 1
Health & Physical Education 2  
Foreign Language, Fine Arts or CTE 2  
Electives 4  
Economics and Personal Finance 1  
Student Selected Test   1
Total 22 6

Credit accommodations for the Standard Diploma for students with disabilities have been established by the Virginia Department of Education. "Credit accommodations" means adjustments to meet the standard and verified credit requirements for earning a Standard Diploma for students with disabilities. A student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan will specify any applicable credit accommodations.

SPECIAL DIPLOMA

      This diploma is intended for certain students at the secondary level who have a disability and do not meet the requirements for other diplomas. The student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team and the student’s parents determine eligibility and participation in this diploma program. For a student to earn a Special Diploma, he/she must complete the requirements of the Individual Educational Program.

 

In any high school credit-bearing course taken in middle school, parents may request that the grades be omitted from the student‘s transcript and the student not earn high school credit for the course. The request must be in writing, signed and dated by the parent/legal guardian and the student. The request must be made before the next school year begins.

A verified credit earned by passing the SOL end-of-level test may not be awarded if the grade has been removed from the student‘s transcript. If the student repeats and passes the course, the verified credit will be awarded and the student will not be required to retake the SOL end-of-level test for that course.

Adopted: January 13, 2014

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IZD: EXAMINATION EXEMPTION

Students attending classes on a block schedule in grades 9-12 will be exempt from, and will not be required to be in attendance for review in preparation of the final exam, providing they have a final average of "B" or better or who have a passing grade in the course and passed the SOL test for the course. In addition, they must have five (5) or fewer absences in the class. High school students attending classes that meet daily for the entire school year can be exempted from final examinations if they meet the same grade and SOL requirements as above, and miss no more than ten (10) days in that class.

Averages and attendance will be figured on the last teaching day. An exception for the attendance stipulation may be considered if a student makes up the time missed for an excused absence in a timely manner. A “timely manner” is defined as within 10 school days of the excused absence unless an extension is approved by the principal during the 10 school day time requirement. Excused absences for this policy are defined as those absences documented with a medical providers (doctor, dentist, mental health counselor,…) excuse, death in the family, or court excuse. Make-up sessions must be arranged with a teacher or administrator prior to the make-up session. Any absence of 50% of the class or greater is considered absent. If a student is considered absent from the class then they must make up the full length of the class. All absences must be made up prior to exam review day.

Refusal to take an end of course Standards of Learning assessment (regular test session or expedited retake) or Career and Technical Education assessment will result in required final exam.

Students will not be penalized for absences due to a field trip, late buses, or school-related trips or events.

Absences on exam review day and exam days for students with an exam exemption are not included in the student’s total absence count.

In determining the student average, the following procedure shall be used:

Block Schedule

      1. Compute the average for the first nine weeks and count this 9 times. Add in the mid-term exam and divide the sum by 10 to determine the semester average. Use numerical notations.
      2. Compute the average for the second nine weeks. Add this with the first semester average (first nine weeks final grade) and divide by 2 to arrive at the final grade. If the student must take the final exam, follow the same procedure used to determine the first semester average.

Seven-Period Day Schedule

      1. Compute the average for the first and second nine weeks and count this 9 times. Add in the mid-term exam and divide the sum by 10 to determine the semester average. Use numerical notations.
      2. Compute the second semester average by taking the average for the third and fourth nine weeks and dividing by 2. Add this with the first semester average and divide by 2 to arrive at the final grade. If the student must take the final exam, follow the same procedure used in the first semester.

Adopted: January 12, 2015

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IZE: GRADUATION HONORS

Recognizing student achievement is important to Smyth County Public Schools. Beginning with 9th graders in the Fall of 2016, Smyth County Public Schools will recognize students based on two categories of honor graduates.

Distinguished Honors

This distinction is given to any graduate who has a 4.0 GPA (Grade Point Average) or higher.

Honors

This distinction is given to any graduate who has a 3.7—3.94 GPA

Grade point averages will be rounded off to the nearest tenth and will be calculated when final grades are submitted at the end of the school year.

Students in the top 10% of the graduating class will select from their ranks the student speakers for the graduation ceremony. High schools may limit the total number of speakers and the length of speeches.

2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Graduating Classes

Grade point averages will be rounded off to the nearest tenth. Students will be ranked by grade point average from highest to lowest. Students with the same grade point average will have the same class rank.

When several students have the same class rank, the student(s) with the next highest grade point average will be given a rank in class according to the actual number of students in the class.

Example: Class Rank – Student A, Student B and Student C all have a 4.2 GPA. All three would be ranked #1 in their class. Student D and Student E each have a 4.1 GPA. Both would be ranked #4 in their class.

Students in the top ten percent of the class (plus ties) will be recognized as honor graduates in each graduating class.

Valedictorian or salutatorian speakers will not be named. The honor graduates themselves will select from their ranks the student speakers for the graduation ceremony.

Adopted: May 9, 2016

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IZEA: Weighted Grade System and High School Grade Point Average

The numerical and letter grades for each course shall be correlated with the following grade points:

Numerical Grade Letter Grade Regular Class Grade Point Weighted Class Grade Point
93-100 A 4.0 5.0
85-92 B 3.0 4.0
77-84 C 2.0 3.0
70-76 D 1.0 2.0
Less than 70 F 0.0 0.0

Grade Scale Exception

If an institution which includes, but is not limited to, Linwood Holton Governor’s School, Southwest Virginia Governor’s School, Virginia Highlands Community College, Wytheville Community College, and/or virtual providers, is using a grade scale that is not congruent with the ones approved by the Smyth County School Board, Smyth County Public Schools will recognize the grade and the grading scale as provided by the sending institution. If an instructor is teaching a course (e.g. dual enrollment) for another institution other than Smyth County Public Schools and that institution or instructional department does not have a defined grade scale, then the Smyth County grade scale will be in effect.

Class ranking and honor graduates shall be determined by the Grade Point Average (GPA) for all credits taken in grades 9 through 12. Ninth grade and above classes taken at the eighth grade level shall not be included in the determination of high school grade point averages.

High level, advanced courses will be granted weighted status according to the following criteria:

      1. All advanced placement (AP) courses will be weighted status.
      2. Other advanced, honors, and college dual credit courses will be granted weighted status by the School Board when teachers of the course ask for such status and offer in support a well-defined rigorous curriculum, solid evidence of standards that significantly exceed normal course requirements, and a well-defined assessment component. The superintendent and the supervisory staff will certify to the board that the preceding requirements have been met.
      3. GPA and class honors and distinctions for students transferring from schools outside of Smyth County shall be based on the quality points system identified above. Weighted grades for transferring students will be given only for weighted courses offered in Smyth County Public Schools. A student transferring from outside Smyth County Public Schools may not accumulate more weighted credits than are available to students in Smyth County.

Students attending one of the Governor's Schools may not gain an advantage in GPA over students who choose to remain in the home schools, nor may such students be adversely affected because of such attendance.

An updated list of all courses granted weighted status by the Smyth County School Board will be maintained in the Smyth County Public Schools Program of Studies.

Adopted: May 9, 2016

Cross References

      • IZEB: Weighted Course Policy: Governor’s Schools

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IZEB: Weighted Course Policy: Governor’s Schools

The Smyth County School Board offers qualified students from county high schools the option to apply for admission to the Governor's Schools that serve our school division. Students who are admitted to the Governor's Schools take specialized, advanced courses in a variety of subjects that enhance the course offerings in each high school.

To give proper credit for advanced courses, the School Board has adopted a weighted grade system to use in figuring grade point averages and to determine high school honors and distinctions. It is the philosophy of the Smyth County School Board that all students will have access to advanced, weighted courses. To that end a minimum of three additional advanced, weighted courses will be made available to students who do not participate in Governor’s Schools.

In a similar manner, no high school student transferring from outside Smyth County's public schools may accumulate more weighted credits due to the transfer than are available to students in county schools.

All advanced placement courses will be weighted. College dual credit courses will be weighted if they have an advanced curriculum and assessment component. Other courses can be granted weighted status following criteria previously adopted by the school board (Policy IZEA). No course is to be weighted solely because it is the next advanced course in a sequence.

A current list of all courses granted weighted status will be maintained in the Smyth County Public Schools Program of Studies.

Adopted: May 9, 2016

Cross References

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IZF: Eye Safety

All Smyth County students, board personnel, and visitors participating in any of the following courses shall be required to wear industrial quality eye protective devices at all times.

        Vocational or industrial arts shops or laboratories involving experience with:
        1. Hot molten metals:
        2. Milling, sawing, turning, shaping, cutting, grinding, or stamping of any solid materials;
        3. Heat treatment, tempering, or kiln firing of any metal or other materials;
        4. Gas or electric arc welding;
        5. Repair of any vehicle; or
        6. Caustic or explosive materials.
      1. Chemical or combined chemical-physical laboratories involving caustic or explosive chemicals or hot liquids or solids. The school board shall provide required eye protective devices at public expense. For the purpose of this policy section, industrial quality eye protective devices shall mean devices providing side protection and meeting the standards of the American Standards Association Safety Code for Head, Eye, and Respiratory Protection, 22.1-1959, promulgated by the American Standards Association, Inc. (1966, C. 69.)

Revised: March 12, 2018

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IZG: Band Trips

The following guidelines are to be utilized in reviewing application for permission to take supplemental band trips.

      1. The principal and the superintendent must concur that the time missed from school is justified by a trip of comparable educational value.
      2. The trip cannot cost any student more than $300; if the trip costs more, band boosters and/or fund raising must take care of the amount over $300. This total includes all transportation, lodging, meals, special tickets, etc. It does not include spending money for souvenirs, snacks, etc.
      3. The principal and superintendent must give approval of a pre-application for the trip before any tentative commitment can be made. Contracted commitments can not be made prior to school board approval of the trip.

Approved: January 14, 2019

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IZN: Courses Retaken: Grade Point Average

When a student receives an F in a course for which high school credit is granted the F shall remain on the student's permanent record and be included in determination of the high school grade point average, regardless of whether the student retakes the course. The grade earned if/when the student retakes the course will also be included in determination of the high school grade point average.
 
Should a student choose to retake a course for which the student received a passing grade and a course credit, the grade listed on the student's permanent record and included in determination of the high school grade point average will be the higher of the grade received when the course was originally taken or when the course was retaken.

Beginning with the class of 2001, this policy shall not apply to ninth grade and above classes
taken at the eighth grade level.

For purpose of this policy, regular class and a weighted class in the same subject area shall
not be considered the same course.


Repeatable Courses


There is a selection of approved courses that may be taken in multiple years to develop and enhance skills, which are identified in the course offering section. The student will be awarded credit for each semester where he/she earns a passing grade.

9260 Beginning Chorus
9285 Intermediate Chorus
9289 Advanced Chorus
9234 Advanced Band
9239 Advanced Orchestra
9296 Band Guard
1215 Photojournalism I
1216 Photojournalism II
7640 Strength and Conditioning
7650 Advanced Strength and Conditioning
1300 Speech Fundamentals & Forensics
9091 SCA Leadership
1426 Theatre IV: Advanced Acting/Directing
1430 Advanced Acting
8120 Marketing
8120COOP1C Marketing Coop 1 Credit
8120COOP2C Marketing Coop 2 Credits
8130 Advanced Marketing
8120COP1C1P Advanced Marketing Coop 1 Credit 1 Period
8130COP1C2P Advanced Marketing Coop 1 Credit 2 Periods
2387 21st Century History Modern/Contemporary
1171 Creative Writing
0130 Study Skills
0130ALGBI Study Skills Algebra I
0130BIOL Study Skills Biology
0230EARTHS Study Skills Earth Science
0230ENGL Study Skills English 9-11
0130GEOM Study Skills Geometry
0130READ Study Skills Reading
0230USHIST Study Skills US History
0130WORLDH Study Skills World History
0230Write Study Skills Writing
1515 Reading
 
 
Revised: August 12, 2019
 
 

IZR: Transition and Articulation Plan

Careful planning and effective coordination between feeder schools and receiving schools will ensure that the transition from one school to the other is a smooth and positive experience for students. Professional staff involved in working with the students through the transition experience must be knowledgeable of the process and instrumental in its fruition. All programs must be carefully articulated between the schools involved. Two committees are to be established to accomplish this task: a school-based Transitional Committee and a Joint Transitional Committee.

Each school shall establish a standing School Transitional Committee to develop relevant transitional activities at the home school. This committee shall merge, when appropriate, with other schools' Transitional Committees to form a Joint Transitional Committee.

The purpose of the Joint Committee is to:

      1. Coordinate curriculum and instructional efforts
      2. Promote an atmosphere of comfort, safety, and familiarity for students, and
      3. Plan and coordinate all articulation and transitional activities.

This committee shall be composed of the principal, a guidance counselor, and three teachers (including one special education teacher) from each feeder and receiving school. This committee is to elect a chairperson at its first meeting each year, such person is to be responsible for documentation of plans, activities, and schedules for the year. A plan of action is to be submitted to the superintendent September 1 of each year with a final report of action taken submitted by July 1.

This Joint Transitional Committee is responsible for planning the following activities:

      1. Orientation of receiving school faculty concerning the school concepts and characteristics of the feeder school students.
      2. Orientation of the feeder school faculty concerning the philosophies, objectives, and expectations of the receiving school.
      3. Biannual meetings of feeder and receiving school departments, grade groups, and/or teams for the purpose of articulation.
      4. Receiving school guidance personnel meetings with feeder school transitional students to discuss scheduling and other aspects of the new school.
      5. Guided tours of new school. The receiving school principal is responsible for making sure that these tours are conducted as scheduled. These tours are to include:
        1. Student orientation at the new school
        2. Written information concerning the new school including policies, rules, and expectations
        3. Other activities and materials that may help provide a smooth transition.

Adopted: February 11, 2019

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