Maricopa High School Principal June Celaya presented a communication outline during the work study session of the MUSD Board meeting June 10th. Celaya went over District plans for parental notification as it relates to grades and progress, counselors’ job responsibilities and documentation issues, and a corrective action plan.
Parents are notified by phone if a student is absent for a class period. The Attendance Clerk sends a letter after 3, 7, and 10 absences, followed up by a Truancy follow-up that places the student on an attendance contract. Counselors meet with students after letters have been sent, and a student with excessive absences can file an appeal.
Communication concerning grades involves progress reports sent to the home every 3 weeks and, new in 2009, grades are available online 24/7. Counselors send out failure letters and initiate parent meetings, plus teachers are encouraged to call parents if a student is failing a class. If students are deficient in their credits, counselors meet with students after each semester to inform them of any deficiencies and letters are sent home via the students and have to be signed by parents and returned.
The other duties and responsibilities of the counselor include educational development, to meet graduation requirements, academic advisement that includes class rank and test scores, college and career development by providing scholarship information and college exam coordination, and address mental health needs, if behavior counseling or peer mediation or group counseling is needed. Then there are the clerical duties of documentation, sending the letters, and calling parents when needed.
According to Principal Celaya, there is no current counseling manual that defines the procedures and in the past, most communications were verbal. Increased enrollment has placed increased demands on the counselors. Her plan is to develop the policy and procedure manual, complete with forms, documentation, and hopefully some computer software to keep all of the information.
Public Relations Director Tom Beckett presented information concerning tax credits. A donor can allocate funds for a specific activity or an individual or group using a payroll deduction form. The activities must be school sponsored, have a charge to the participant, and be non-profit. The school website has the information, and there is a hard copy of the information in the registration packets.
President Geoff Goddard, Vice President Tracy Davis, and members Tim White, Carrie Vargas, and Lori Glenn were all present as they approved the minutes of the past meeting, Vouchers and Donations, and Educational Services, which involved an increase in Pay for Participation at the High School. In the past, the High School has charged $50 per sport per student, with a family cap of $200.00. This works out to approximately 30 cents per instructional hour/competition time by the most conservative estimation. The information packet stated that the new recommendation would be $100 for the first sport, $75 for each additional sport, with a family cap of $300.00. During discussion, it was announced that the freshman fees have actually gone down and that football is the most expensive sport, due to the equipment. Booster clubs would sponsor students who are currently on free or reduced lunch, or tax credits could be used.
Transportation Phase I was also approved. This bus parking and wash facility, located at the new District Offices, will cost about $1.6M. This project also includes earthwork and concrete paving, bus wash area with masonry storage area, and relocating of existing MUSD bus fueling equipment to the new facility. Also included are lighting, landscaping, and fencing.
An item that did not pass was the Position Elimination and Reclassification Request. This proposal recommended eliminating 2 Truancy Officers, 2 Security, and 12 Custodians. Board Members asked about a plan in place and expressed concerns about increased teacher responsibilities. Board President Goddard asked that the item be tabled, awaiting more information.