East Grand school officials consider merit system for MPHS off-campus privileges
April 26, 2009
There may be middle ground in the closed-campus versus open-campus issue concerning Middle Park High schoolers.
A system that allows students to earn the opportunity to leave campus for lunch could encourage better attendance and better grades, according to a district accountability committee presentation to district board members conducted by high school business teacher Brian Reynolds and high school senior Chris Thompson.
The committee reviewed a like policy at Palisade High School, where school officials boasted how a campus privilege system for juniors and seniors directly correlated with student achievement and a marked decrease in overall tardinesses and absences.
Borrowing parts of the Palisade program relevant to Middle Park, committee members proposed a draft privilege system to the district board for consideration on Tuesday. After the presentation, the board opted to delay any decision.
The proposal suggests the school close the campus for all freshman and sophomores but allow junior and senior students to earn the off-campus lunch privilege.
Students would need to maintain all grades C or better, have no office referrals, have fewer than three tardies and have no unexcused absences. Privileges would be recorded on a three-week basis, meaning any penalty revokes off-campus privileges for the remainder of a tri-week period.
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The 12-member accountability committee, made up of parents, teachers, community members and two students, developed the open/closed campus in light of evenly split results from a parent-student survey, Reynolds said.
Among feedback, both parents and students said off-campus lunches promote local businesses and allow for real-life responsibility while promoting time management. Eating off campus, however, can lead to possible drug and alcohol use, post-lunch tardiness and reckless driving around town, some said.
If enacted, the policy could require students to wear identification badges at all times. School IDs would reveal lunch privileges. In order for the system to work, Reynolds suggested a monitoring of school entrances and exits to serve as student-badge checkpoints.
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