Riverside School Board approves policy changes

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Riverside School Board discussed a recommendation for a policy change to give junior and senior students more flexibility in their schedules.

High School Principal Matt Zeigler explained to the board beginning this coming school year the Arkansas Legislature has made changes in the number of instructional minutes required per day.

“When I was in school, many seniors would leave school early to work,” he said. “With Act 867 juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to set a schedule to meet their educational goals or work needs. This will not affect the district's funding.”

He went on to explain many upper classmen have to take a lot of classes they do not need for graduation. Some students decide they would rather get their GED than remain in high school taking classes they do not need and do not enjoy.

Ziegler said they are looking at establishing three different tracks. Students can attend first through fourth period, third through sixth period or fifth through eighth period.

“There will be limitations,” Ziegler said. “There will be an application process and the parents will have to sign off on it. Students will have to have the required credits needed for graduation and have to show an educational plan.”

He said they will work with the students to help them reach their goals. This will allow students who have to work late to start their school day later. It will also give students the opportunity to take more career training classes or college classes.

Superintendent Jeff Priest said he had talked to a couple of area superintendents and they plan to start the program.

There will be some students working on their associate degree and will not be able to shorten their day.

The district offers eight periods a day. For a student to participate in extracurricular activities he/she must be at school for four periods.

Ziegler said the program will have limitations and guidelines. Individual students will be approved through an application process.

“We will make it work,” Ziegler said. “It will be beneficial to our students and hopefully increase our graduation rate.”

The board voted unanimously to modify the policy starting with the 2018-2019 school year. They also voted to amend the vo-tech policy allowing 10th grade students to participate. Presently only juniors and seniors could take the career classes at the NEA Career Technical Center on Jonesboro High School campus.

The board voted unanimously to rehire classified staff on the list as presented by Superintendent Priest.

Priest told the board Katie (Sanders), school treasurer, plans to retire.

“I have met with representatives with the state education department and talked to them about hiring a part-time person to work with Sanders."

Priest said a part-time person will give Sanders time to train someone and it will give them a chance to see if they want to continue in the position.

He recommended hired Kailenn Shelton as a part-time assistant at $10 an hour for one or two days a week. He said she will be graduating from Arkansas State University in May.

The board voted unanimously to hire Shelton as a part-time assistant.

In other business:

*In the financial review, it was noted the district is $500,000 above the same time last year. It is projected to finish the year at $1.3 million (last year the district finished at $965,000).

*Superintendent Priest said the prom will be held next Friday at the Cooper Alumni Center near the Convocation Center at Arkansas State University.

*April 23 will be the annual Troy Case dinner/auction. Dinner will begin at 5 p.m. followed by the auction. The first $500 raised will go to the Troy Case Scholarship.

Riverside School Board meets at 6 p.m. the first Monday night of the month in the board room located in the administration office.

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