County school board OKS policies

Published 11:53 am Saturday, September 1, 2018


The Southampton County School Board approved the policies and guidelines that were presented during Monday night’s work session in order to prepare for the beginning of the school year. Kellie Gillette, the instruction director for the school district, presented three items, starting with the criteria for accelerated classes at the middle school level. Beginning at the seventh grade, accelerated classes give students the opportunity to take high school courses. The criteria includes a score of 420 or higher SOL tests, As and Bs in math and science classes, a 3.0 GPA and teacher recommendations.

“If students meet three out of the four criteria, then we will consider those students as eligible for accelerated classes,” Gillette said.

Eligible seventh grade students will be able take life science for the first semester and physical science for the second semester. As a result, students will be able to take earth science, which is a high school level course, during their eighth grade year. For math, seventh graders can take pre-algebra for the entire year, allowing them to take Algebra I and Geometry during the eighth grade. Therefore, these accelerated classes will allow students to have other electives when they attend high school as well as pursue an associate degree, if they desire.

Gillette shared with the school board how many students participated in these classes.

“Last year, we had 60 students that participated in accelerated classes, and we’re looking forward to increase the number of students this year,” she said.

The Southampton County School Board also approved Gillette’s request for the school district to use the 10-point grading scale. Previously, the school system has used the 7-point grading scale in which score range of 93-100 is considered an A and a score range 69 and below is considered an F. With the 10-point grading scale, students will earn the following scores:

  • 90 to 100: A
  • 80 to 89: B
  • 70 to 79: C
  • 60 to 69: D
  • Below 60: F

During a phone interview, Gillette shared how this change will benefit the school district.

“The surrounding school districts have already moved to a 10-point grading scale, and this change will indeed help us catch up with the surrounding districts.”

Gillette’s final request that was approved by the school board was the homework policy. The policy requires a certain amount of time spent for homework based on grade level. The policy will require students grades K-2 to spend a half an hour on homework, students grades 3-5 to spend an hour, middle school students to spend 15 minutes per class and the amount of homework time varies for high school students. Students will not fail based on homework, but if a student is failing during the nine weeks, homework assignments will be reviewed.

Special education director Dr. Tonia Taylor requested to update the guidelines for disciplinary action, which was also approved by the school board. The guidelines for disciplinary action will be categorized based on the severity of a student’s misconduct. For example, Level I misconduct (attendance, teasing, cheating, gambling, etc.) will result in verbal warnings, time out, note home, phone call to parent, etc.

The school board also approved the following items:

  • Retention and Promotion Policy
  • Student Cell Phone Policy
  • Employee Cell Phone Policy
  • Staff Dress Code Policy
  • Use of Facilities Form

In other news, Ruth Burch, the transportation trainer for SCPS, gave a presentation about the current condition of the two-tier bus system. Burch said the schedule has been beneficial as it gave an opportunity to remove buses that date back to the 1990s off the road.

“As of right now, we are starting out with 45 bus drivers, in which 11 of them are using the two-tier route,” she said.

Burch also said there are four bus driver positions that are open, one for each of the following schools: Capron Elementary, Meherrin Elementary, Southampton Middle and Southampton High.