Moran School (copy)

Moran kindergartner Brook Greenblatt runs during recess in 2017. Teton County School District No. 1 trustees are considering changes to the district's policies on recess.

In what one trustee described as the “shortest meeting ever,” the Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees approved the first reading of a slate of policy changes Aug. 14.

The changes cover everything from public records requests to administering medicine to students.

“Some are cleanup policies, some are updates because state statute changed,” Superintendent Gillian Chapman told the board. “Others are ones that we have wanted to talk about and address for some time.”

Administrative changes include codifying Communications Coordinator Charlotte Reynolds as the compliance officer for nondiscrimination policies, as well as adding her as the “designated custodian” of public records. The public records policy stipulates that “absent good cause, the district has 30 days to comply with a response after the acknowledged date of receipt.”

At a workshop before their July meeting, the trustees debated changes to the district’s policies regarding recess, particularly in light of recent research that has shown the mental and physical health benefits of daily time spent outside. One sticking point in the old policies was teachers’ ability to make a child miss recess as a punishment.

Trustees didn’t want to remove that as an option, but they said they wanted to make sure that kids were able to exercise as much as possible, which they saw as important to help higher-energy students be successful.

“I would prefer language making it clear that is sort of a last-resort-type of thing rather than a choice that could be made on some kind of routine basis,” Trustee Annie Band said. “We should be more clear on types of consequences we would like to see.”

The amended policy now reads “loss of recess may be considered when the safety and welfare of the student or others is a concern.” Band suggested the board encourage teachers to use restorative consequences such as helping a teacher clean up after class.

State law dictates the board must wait at least 45 days after the first reading to pass policy changes on second reading. To read the changes go to TCSD.org/board and click on the Board Docs logo. Click on the Policies drop-down menu and go to “draft” to read the pending amendments and new policies.

Public comment on the policy changes can be directed to the trustees at any time before their Oct. 9 meeting, when the policies will come up for a second reading. Comments can be emailed to schoolboard@tcsd.org.

“It is a great opportunity for public input,” Chapman told the board. “We can make changes that are recommended.”

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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