March 7, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 46

Cheney School board talks about instructional materials, child custody

The Cheney School Board approved changes to its selection and adoption of instructional materials policy, and adopted a new policy centering on how to handle child custody issues at their regular meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 27, held at Betz Elementary School.

The board approved changes to the instructional materials policy in the areas of legal responsibility, adding language requiring materials be selected as per applicable state and federal laws, stated goals and standards of the district and with “procedures established by the Instructional Materials Committee.”

Staff reasoning and professional judgment will be relied upon to also pick materials that enrich and support the curriculum, stimulate student growth in a number of areas including conceptual thinking, factual knowledge and physical fitness. Materials should provide “sufficient variety so as to present opposing views of controversial issues,” and also contribute to “an understanding of ethnic, cultural and occupational diversity in American life.”

The policy changes removed language regarding accepting gifts of instructional materials, and modified the section on loan and sale of materials to students to simply loan.

Associate superintendent Sean Dotson told the board the child custody policy was something new, part of recommendations by the Washington State School Directors Association.

“We have in the past not had this policy in place and it was recommended we have this policy in place,” he said.

The policy assumes the person enrolling the student in school is that student’s residential parent, responsible for day-to-day care and decisions and possessing rights to receive student information as well as denying access. The policy also assumes the non-residential parent, unless informed otherwise, has rights to be kept informed of the student’s progress and activities.

If restrictions are in place, the resident parent must submit a certified copy of the court order detailing such to the school. If there is a court order on file detailing restrictions the student will not be released to that restricted parent or allowed to visit with them.

Director Rick Mount suggested the court order requirement possibly be further defined to valid or current.

“Weird things happen with parents of children who are no longer together,” he said.

The school board also heard from high school spring sport coaches on the progress and status of their teams, and viewed a presentation by Betz students of teacher Darla Fitzpatrick in the world language program.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

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