Parents objecting to health class subject matter now have a second alternative, following action taken by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education Monday night.
Under prior district policy, parents were allowed to opt their students out of middle school and high school health courses if they deemed course material objectionable. Instead, students were required to take an equivalent correspondence course to fulfill the health requirement.
The policy revisions approved unanimously Monday night allow a three-day opt-out alternative. If parents object to only a segment of the in-class curriculum, they may excuse their child for up to three days to avoid a controversial topic. If parents object to more than three days of material, the student must opt out of the entire class and take the correspondence course.
Board vice president Deborah Germano asked if the new policy would put teachers and administrators in a position to have to negotiate curriculum with parents who do not want their students to have to opt out of the class.
Assistant superintendent Gary Whiteley explained, however, that the goal of the revision is to provide a compromise that would actually remove the yearly curriculum debate.
Teachers are expected to be forthcoming with parents about the curriculum and to engage in discussion with parents who are concerned, but they do not have to change the curriculum because the opt-out option is in place.
Also at Monday's meeting, the board accepted four resignations and approved two administrator appointments and one teacher assignment.
Patricia Blacklock, a special education and resources specialist at Skyview High School, Lisa Chambers, an intermediate teacher at the Susan B. English School, Gweni Hurd, a language arts teacher at Kenai Central High School and Molly Kennedy-Trainor, an occupational therapist at Sears Elementary, tendered resignations effective at the end of the school year.
Judy A. Gonsalves, a speech language pathologist currently in Dillingham, was assigned to West Homer Elementary.
The board also approved the appointments of Alan L. Fields to the assistant principal position at KCHS and Darell Johnston to the principal and teacher position at Port Graham School.
Fields, who is currently the principal at Koliganek School in Dillingham, has an undergraduate education degree from Montana State University and a master's degree from the University of Alaska-Anchorage. He has experience in physical education, special education and administration and has worked in Dillingham, Togiak, and Billings, Mont.
Johnston, who is currently a principal and teacher at the Innoko River School in Shageluk, has an undergraduate degree from UAA and is currently pursuing an administration degree through UAA. His past experience is in Shageluk and Anchorage.
The board approved the staff changes unanimously. No one stepped forward to comment on the changes.
In other school board news:
Carol Nolden, a member of the Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Site-Based Council, asked the board to reconsider staff cuts at K-Beach Elementary. Though she said the site council understands the need for cutbacks, she said the reduction of K-Beach staff by 1.5 positions was inappropriate, because unlike other schools in the district, K-Beach enrollment continues to rise. The board said it would look at the numbers presented and suggested that the site council bring its concerns to the superintendent.
The Alaska Science Consortium presented a plaque to thank the district for hosting the annual summer institute in Seward in 2000.
The board approved a resolution in support of a long-range fiscal plan for Alaska.
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