Dare school board looks at new and revised policies

Published 2:35 pm Monday, January 16, 2023

On the Dare County Board of Education’s Jan. 9, 2023 agenda were eight policy manual updates or new policies, two regulation changes and four form changes, proposed by the North Carolina School Boards Association and/or Poyner Spruill, LLC, the school board’s law firm.

The various documents were presented for first reading and consideration. Normally, the policies are then included on the next month’s board agenda for adoption.

Dare’s school board has been grappling with requests by home school families to allow home schooled students to participate in high school athletics and extracurricular activities.

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Policies dealing with the request were included on the January agenda as promised by Poyner Spruill.

Policy Code 3105 is titled Part-Time Admission of Home School Students. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association requires many of the 11 conditions about home school student’s participation in high school sports.

The conditions, as detailed in Policy Code 3105, are:

—Student must conform to immunization and health and domicile of residence requirements.

—Student will be assigned to a school within Dare County Schools in accordance with Policy 4150, which states that the superintendent presents the school districts to the board for approval and then makes the assignment of students to the appropriate district.

—Students must enroll for at least one-half of the school day and take at least one course on campus each semester.

—Classes will be assigned on space-available basis.

—Student must present academic records from the student’s current home school. Principal will determine grade/class placement.

—Student is subject to all course fees.

—Home schooled students dually enrolled must participate in all required district, state and federal testing.

—Student must adhere to Dare Schools “Student Code of Conduct” and other rules applicable to full-time students and subject to consequences for violation.

—Student eligibility is determined by the principal and applicable rules of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, the state’s Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education.

—Transportation for part-time students is responsibility of parent or legal guardian. At principal’s discretion, access to bus transportation may be available.

—While enrolled in a part-time basis in Dare County Schools, the student must maintain attendance at an active home school registered with the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education.

In addition to the new policy detailed above, changes are also recommended to Policy Code 3620, titled Extracurricular Activities and Student Organizations.

This policy echoes Board Policy Code 4326, which requires students participating interscholastic athletics or extracurricular activities to participate in the district’s random drug testing program.

A section is added to the policy titled “Athletic Participation by Dually Enrolled Home School Students.” The new section states that dually enrolled home school students can participate in interscholastic athletic “if they comply with all of the following:”

—Student must present a home school card from the Division of Non-Public Education for the previous and current years, transcript, attendance record and immunizations.

—Student must submit proof of enrollment in registered home school for 365 days prior to participation in athletics.

—Prior to first day of practice, “student must provide results of a nationally standardized achievement test taken within the last year” indicating the student is on grade level at the time of test.

—Student must pass all classes in which enrolled to maintain eligibility and comply with all rules and regulations of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

—Student must maintain continuous dual enrollment. Failure makes student ineligible for sports participation for 365 days.
—Student must notify principal in writing of intent to try out for an athletic team at least 10 days prior to first day of practice.

As for the additional changes, the North Carolina School Boards Association and Poyner Spruill made recommendations about technology:

NEW Policy 3220, Technology in the Educational Program

The association recommended this new policy.

The superintendent is charged with overseeing “development of the school system’s digital teaching and learning vision as part of the school system’s strategic plan and a yearly action plan that aligns to the vision.”

Titles of sections indicate breadth of the new policy: Selection of Technological Resources, Deployment of Technology to Schools, Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Initiative, Electronic Communication and Other Collaborative Tools, Technology-Related Professional Development

Revised Policy 3225/7320, Technology Responsible Use.

Added citations.

Revised Regulation 3225/7320-R, Technology Responsible Use Regulations.

Added citations

Revised Form 3225/7320-R, Student E-Mail Parent Permission Form, now labeled “Technology Permission Form – Parent.”

The form now makes clear appropriate use of school system-provided access to the internet and student email accounts. Parents must sign. The form says: “As explained in the Acceptable Use Regulation, the use of school technology, networks, and Internet services does not create any expectation of privacy. Dare County Schools reserves the right to search and/or monitor any information, created, accessed, sent, received, and/or stored in any format by students on school equipment.”

Revised Form 3225/7320-R, Acceptable Use of the Internet Form, now labeled “Technology Permission Form – Student.”

The form makes plain “It is the student’s responsibility to avoid accessing inappropriate or questionable material. Internet access is a privilege, not a right, and access entails responsibility. All Internet activity is monitored by Dare County Schools personnel for compliance …”

Revised Form 3225/7320-R, Information Technology Resource Acceptance Form

Added a policy reference.

NEW Policy 3228/7323, Use of Personal Technology to Conduct School Business

This new policy describes the conflict between employee’s interests and the system’s obligations. Below are some portions of the new policy:

The school system is “legally obligated to preserve certain school business-related electronically stored information.” This includes text messages and emails, which could constitute public or student records and be discoverable during litigation.

Unless otherwise authorized by a “bring your own technology” initiative, “employees are expected to use school-controlled technology devices and accounts for conducting school business and storing school business-related ESI [electronically stored information] when such devices and accounts are readily available.”

“Any school business-related ESI stored on an employee’s personal technology devices or accounts is property of the school system. Employees shall transfer to an appropriate custodian all school business-related ESI upon request of the superintendent or designee and upon leaving employment. Employees shall cooperate with school officials in accessing any school business-related ESI stored on personal technology devices or accounts.”

Revised Regulation 3229-R, Student Laptop User Agreement

Added policy references

Revised Form 3229-R, Annual Student and Parent/Guardian Authorization Form

Added policy reference

Revised Policy 7360/8225, Crowdfunding

The revision limits crowdfunding to the DonorsChoose platform, unless otherwise permitted in writing by the school principal and director of finance or designee. Any technology equipment, including hardware and software, must approved by director of Technology Services and delivered to Technology Services for setup.

Revised Policy 7241: Drug and Alcohol Testing of Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators

Two drafts are offered regarding follow-up testing.

New Policy 4720: Surveys of Students

“The superintendent shall ensure that all notification and other requirements of the Protection of

Pupil Rights Amendment are met, including all legal requirements regarding the surveying of students.

“The school system will take measures to protect the identification and privacy of students participating in any survey concerning any of the protected topics. These measures may include limiting access to completed surveys and to survey results, as allowed by law.

“The school system will notify parents at the beginning of each school year of the specific or approximate dates of administration of surveys concerning the protected topics. Parents have the right to review any survey that concerns one of the protected topics or any instructional materials used in any such survey.

“Before a student is required to participate in any Department of Education ­funded survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning a protected topic, the parent or eligible student must provide prior written consent.

“For purposes of this policy, the following are considered a ‘protected topic’: political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; mental or psychological problems of the student or the student’s family; sex behavior or attitudes; illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior; critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships; legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers; religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student’s parent; or income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program or for receiving financial assistance under such program).”

Additional topics in this new policy include Third-Party Surveys, Collection of Student Data for Marketing Purposes, and Other Relevant Policies.

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