BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON – In an effort to make the policy for dismissing employees less ambiguous, alterations to district policy were proposed to Davis School Board members on Tuesday.
The changes are necessary, according to legal issues specialist Michelle Beus, to bring the district in line with legislation passed last year and to simplify and clarify existing policy.
The new proposal differentiates between “unsatisfactory performance” and “for cause” as reasons to consider dismissal.
“Unsatisfactory performance” can mean a deficiancy in performing tasks due to insufficient skills, a bad attitude, aptitude or inadequate effort, said Beus. With effort, unsatisfactory performances can be improved.
“For cause” would be for a violation of district policy or insubordination, such as not reporting to work on time or showing an R-rated movie in the classroom.
If a teacher, classified employee or administrator is found to have violated district policy, steps toward termination can begin immediately. If the wrong-doing is performance related, steps will be outlined in the new district policy to help turn that perfomance around.
“We want to catch it at the beginning and help fix it so we don’t have a bad habit to deal with,” said Beus.
Those steps include informal coaching and developing a plan of assistance with actionable goals. If further input is needed, an Administrative Consultation Team (ACT) will review the documented insufficiencies and review progress.
“Evaluation shouldn’t overshadow coaching,” said Bryan Bowles, superintendent. “The whole thing is really a growth and development plan and evaluation is a piece of that Р and orderly termination is a piece of that plan.”
Discussion continued on a proposal to offer a “Davis School District Secondary Diploma” to students at risk of not graduating.
Board members were assured the option to graduate with only 24 credits required by state law would only be offered to students in spring of their junior year if they were at risk of dropping out of school.
“We know where these kids are at and if we sign them out to go to adult education, many of them will be lost in that gap,” said Bowles. “If we allow them to stay in high school where we know them, can guide them and coach them and encourage them, we know it’s more likely they’ll be getting a diploma.”
Students who are directed to the secondary diploma option would not walk at their high school graduation ceremonies or have the name of the school they attended on their diplomas.