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PARKERS CHAPEL — At its meeting Monday night, the Parkers Chapel School Board approved an amendment to the district’s grading policy, making it “standardized” among all teachers.

Prior to the amendment, grading was “kind of left wide open.” While it still gives teachers flexibility, the new policy will introduce uniformity across the district, said Michael White, district superintendent.

“We just standardized for the district as to the calculation of the nine-weeks average and we created two categories: the assessment category and a practice category. The practice will weigh 40 percent of the final grade and the assessment average will weigh 60 percent, so what that means is teachers can do whatever they want as far as assignments. They have to establish ‘is it an assessment or is it a practice?’ and then put into one of those categories.”

The amendment is “a pretty standard process” where the electronic grade book will average both categories before calculating the grade for the period, he said.

The board also approved an amendment to the district’s cellphone policy in the student handbook. The rule reads, “From the time of the first bell until after the last bell, with the following exceptions, students are forbidden from using cellphones or similar electronic communication devices for personal uses.”

Those exceptions allow seventh and eighth-graders to use cellphones during their lunch period and high schoolers to use them during lunch, independent learning time and passing periods.

Students at Parkers Chapel Middle School, that previously housed classes for grades fifth through eighth, can use their phones. After the district “restructured a little bit,” grades five and six are now part of the elementary school, the superintendent said.

“On the elementary campus we don’t allow students to use their cellphone in the cafeteria during lunch, so we were trying to make the handbook match that,” he said.

White gave board members an update on the district’s ongoing construction at the campuses and the softball field.

“They’re just about complete with the outside of the building with the brickwork and all that. The cafeteria interior is finally complete. They’re still working on the exterior part of that and (for) the softball project, we’re waiting on the bleachers and the netting to complete that project,” he said.

To follow federal guidelines, board members approved changing the adult lunch price to $3.75 and amending its purchases and procurement policy to denounce child nutrition workers taking “gifts and gratuity.” The board also rejected a student transfer request into the district from El Dorado.

The Parkers Chapel School Board’s next meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 in the high school technology building.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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