On March 27th, the Leon County School Board held their bi-weekly Agenda Review Meeting, which included two workshops. There was no discussion about the agenda that will addressed at the March 28th general business meeting,, so staff went straight to the workshop discussions.
The first workshop focused on reading achievement and student success in Leon County Schools. Nicole Patton Terry, from Florida State University, provided an update on the READUP partnership between FSU and Leon County Schools. The focus areas of READUP are reading, early learning, and children with disabilities.
Dr. Terry explained there will be a new additional focus for post-secondary success. Board Member Marcus Nicolas asked if there was a plan to monitor the impact on student success. Dr. Terry explained that there was monitoring for what happens “after” students received support from the Literacy Leadership Teams.
The second workshop was an update on student discipline policies. Leon County School District staff explained that teachers are asked to redirect students’ behavior before anyone starts writing referrals for suspensions. Staff noted that in the more recent school years, the number of suspension referrals given to high school students went up due to a large number of students that had not been in a school setting for almost a year and a half.
Board member Laurie Cox explained how teachers should receive training to help students with prevention measures. She stated, “I want to make sure that our teachers (especially new teachers that are just coming in) get the training they need to deal with challenges that we have.”
Board member Nicolas identified a gap in the policy, as the policy provides specific guidance on the first suspension a student receives but leaves it to each school to address second and third suspensions without a policy.
Finally, the review board discussed payment for Leon County School employees. Board member Nicolas stated, “It’s hard to be paid once a month especially when they don’t make a whole lot of money.” He went on to ask for an analysis to see how much it would cost to switch from once-a-month pay to semi-monthly pay. Staff responded that they would be able to provide the information that Nicolas was looking for.