Education board approves policy changes

The Board of Education approved several changes to the school district’s grading policy, employee conduct policy, graduation requirements policy and nutrition regulation during its June 11 meeting.

Weighted grades

The board voted to continue gathering input on whether the policy on weighted grades should be changed. The current policy states that “a grade weighting/class ranking system shall not be implemented in the district’s high school.”
According to Communications, Alignment and Policies Committee member Christine Finkelstein, the next step is to assemble a working group comprised of committee members and high school administration and faculty.
“We will look at policies and practices in place in other successful districts — some in Connecticut, as well as those in top-performing public high schools across the country,” she said.
“We’ll use those findings for the basis of what will eventually become a recommendation to the board to either revise the policy or to keep it as is.”
Board of Education Chair Bruce Likly said the goal is to “have something done by the end of the summer.”

Employee conduct

The board voted to change the district’s employee conduct policy (P-4118.23) to specifically prohibit medical marijuana.
Under the old policy, employees were not permitted to work if they are “under the influence of alcohol or engaged in the use or possession of any illegal and/or controlled substance without medical supervision.”
Human Resources Director Susan Paley said employee use of medical marijuana would be treated the same way as their prescription drug use.
Employees are not obligated to report medications they are taking, but “if somebody starts questioning an employee’s job performance,” she said, “what normally happens is they’ll be brought in for a discussion.”
“If they say, ‘I may be acting this way because I’m taking this drug,’” said Paley, then that’s when the medication use would be addressed.

Graduation requirements

The board voted to revise the district’s Graduation Requirements policy (P-6146) to reflect the change in administered standardized testing — from the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) to the Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
“For this coming year, we are not setting a performance criteria level because we haven’t gotten the data [from the SBAC testing] yet,” Assistant Superintendent Charles Smith said in May. “Once we see what the data looks like, we can then set a performance level for graduation.”


As for the district’s Student Nutrition and Physical Activity regulation, the board voted to change the regulation for foods served during the school day to make it align with federal regulations.
According to the assistant superintendent, the changes are “primarily related to trans fats, sugar and soda — things like that.
“We’re not allowed to offer things like candy or baked goods during the school day, but you can 30 minutes after the lunch waves,” Smith explained in May.
Wilton High School Principal Robert O’Donnell told the board that school-day bake sales are currently “a bit of a challenge” at the high school.
“We have a unique culture at Wilton High School. The students do run bake sales for fund raising,” he said. “I think overall, our students are healthy — I do believe that, but we do have bake sales during the day.”
If that is to change, O’Donnell said, “I think we owe it to the students to find an alternative approach to fund raising.”